Professor Dr. med. Wolfgang Draf MD, Hon MD, PhD, FRCS (Ed)
It is with much regret and sadness that we announce the recent death of Professor Wolfgang Draf on 24th October this year. Wolfgang was one of the pioneers of Skull Base Surgery and President of the European Skull Base Society from 2005-2007. Above all, he was a friend, an inspiration and a mentor to countless skull base surgeons all over the world.
Professor Draf undertook his specialist training in Würzburg and Mainz Universities and was awarded a PhD in 1974. In 1979, he was appointed Head of the Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery in Fulda. After his retirement in 2005, he joined the staff at the International Neuroscience Institute of the University of Magdeburg.
During his professional career, Professor Draf published more than 300 scientific papers together with 14 monographs and books. He received numerous accolades, honorary memberships of scientific societies and gave countless eponymous lectures all over the world.
Wolfgang showed great interest in the preparations for our Congress in Brighton. We were anxious that he come, contribute and receive the accolade of being a “Master of the Skull Base.” Wolfgang knew that he might not live to see that day but maintained hope to the end that he would. In a personal e-mail a few months before his death, Wolfgang wrote :
“Thank you so much for your constant support throughout this difficult time and for keeping your fingers crossed for me. I am not a Hercules but, if I remain well, it will be a pleasure and honour to present one of the Masters of the Skull Base lectures at the Congress in Brighton. The title - Lessons learnt from a life in Skull Base surgery - is really excellent. It gives me the opportunity to make a very personal confession.”
The Skull Base fraternity has lost a close friend, an honest and talented surgeon who was never afraid to admit his mistakes and share with others the secrets of his success. A round table on anterior skull base surgery at the congress has been dedicated to his memory.