Inventor of ‘Brazilian butt-lift’ dies one day after holding Olympic flame
Despite his celebrity waiting list the surgeon operated on poorer Brazilians for free
The plastic surgeon who invented the "Brazilian butt lift" has died in his Rio home one day after holding the Olympic flame on the final leg of the relay to the opening of the Games.
Ivo Pitanguy, 90, had a heart attack after suffering from kidney illnesses since last year.
The surgeon kept his celebrity patients secret but Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren are among those who reportedly went under the knife of the “man with the golden touch”.
Married for more than 50 years to wife Marilu, he credited his “loving family and solid friendships” for shaping his “humanistic” personality.
Speaking about life and death, he once said: “Life teaches me every day. I believe that the sad thing about dying is to stop feeling this desire to always learn a bit more.
“I try to balance my life between surgeries, lectures and conferences, without putting aside the enjoyment of living.”
He was last seen in public on Friday in Rio’s neighbourhood of Gavea, where he had a clinic, and held the torch as it made its way to the Olympic Stadium.
The Brazilian butt lift uses a person’s own fat to augment the buttocks. It is a popular procedure in beauty-obsessed South America.
Pitanguy was globally-renowned for his pioneering cosmetic procedures but was also respected for his altruistic endeavours.
When a circus tent caught alight in 1961 one of Brazil’s worst fires, he rushed to the scene to save lives and later carried out surgery on the victims.
It was his time serving as head of the burns department and reconstructive surgery at Rio's Souza Aguiar Hospital that inspired his quest into cosmetic operations.
“An individual’s suffering is not proportional to his deformity, but to the perturbation caused to his harmony by living with his image,” he explained.
At the time of his death, he had amassed a fortune, owning an island and his own ecological sanctuary not far from Rio.
Despite his riches and celebrity clients he used one day a week to operate for free on less well-off people.
Independent News Service