I am sad to share news of the death on July 7 in Milan, Italy of Dr. Juan Rosai.
Dr. Rosai was clearly one of the most influential figures in surgical pathology in the last 50 years, whose broad diagnostic expertise was recognized worldwide. For much of his career, he served as a consultant to the international pathology community, providing expert second opinions and making enormous contributions to direct patient care. As a researcher, Dr. Rosai was best known for his work on neoplasms of the thyroid, thymus, and vascular system, but essentially there is no subspecialty area that did not receive his investigative attention. In fact, he wrote many papers on pancreatic neoplasms, and it was his encouragement of me to pursue a case of pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma that led me to the field of pancreatic pathology. Dr. Rosai was among the first to embrace technologies like electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and molecular biology to enhance pathologic diagnosis. He was also one of the first pathology leaders to promote digital pathology and predicted the field’s evolution from microscopic to digital pathology many years before it occurred, and he pushed for subspecialization of academic pathology years before it became commonplace – ironic, given that he himself was the quintessential generalist. But perhaps his most lasting contributions were made as a mentor and teacher, roles he took on with great enthusiasm. He fostered the careers of countless trainees, many of whom are now in leadership positions around the world. Recitation of his numerous achievements, awards, and honors can await more formal tributes that will appear in time, but no one can doubt that Juan Rosai achieved as much as any individual can in our field, and his influence has been felt across all subspecialties. A world-renowned surgical pathologist, as well as a treasured friend to many, Dr. Rosai’s generous spirit and ability to build consensus are as much a part of his legacy as his unparalleled expertise. Our thoughts are with his wife, Dr. Maria Luisa Carcangiu, and his children.
President, Pancreatobiliary Pathology Society