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Global Leader in Fight Against Malaria Dies

It is with profound sadness that African Human Rights Coalition acknowledges the passing of Dr. Alan Magill. We extend deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues around the world.

Dr. Alan Magill oversaw the development and implementation of strategies for the Global Health program - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in their ultimate goal working toward the eradication of malaria.

Before joining the Global Health Program in 2012, Dr. Magill worked at the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA), and was responsible for accelerating program development for their pandemic influenza initiative. Dr. Magill has also served as Head of Parasitology at the US Navy’s Medical Research Center in Peru and has lived in Germany, where he was a clinician.

Dr. Magill was a board-certified in internal medicine with a subspecialization in infectious disease. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Lamar University, has a Master of Science from the University of Rhode Island and an MD from Baylor University. He completed his residency at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, the headquarters of the Pacific Regional Medical Command.

Statement by Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO and Trevor Mundel, President of the Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

“It is with profound sadness that we share the news that Alan Magill passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday in Seattle.

Alan was an extraordinary leader in the global fight against malaria, as well as a friend, colleague, and mentor to many of you.

We all knew Alan to be passionate, super smart and deliberate, but he was also considerate, good humored and above all humble. He knew just how hard the task of ending malaria would be - but he also believed that every child deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life. He was convinced that no challenge is equal to the power of the human spirit.

In his three years as Director of the Malaria Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alan challenged his team to transform the vision of a malaria-free world into a reality. His death is a terrible loss, but we’re confident that his incredible moral and intellectual example will inspire others to work even harder to get the job done.

Alan was a career military officer prior to joining the foundation, and he carried on the proud military tradition of entrusting each member of his team with a challenge coin. The challenge that he inscribed on that coin – Malaria Delenda Est (Malaria Must Be Defeated) – is not an easy one, and it will not be achieved without decades of hard work. The biggest tribute we can pay is to embrace his mission.”

Statement by Bill and Melinda Gates, Co-Chairs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“The scientific community has lost an amazing leader, and our foundation has lost a treasured friend and colleague.

Although Alan led our foundation’s work on malaria, his influence went far beyond any single disease. He had a rare gift for bringing people together and helping them work toward a common goal. He also combined a deep knowledge of science with a hard-earned understanding of what happens out in the field. He knew that insights gained in the laboratory only matter if they improve people’s lives.

For the two of us, Alan was a wonderful teacher. He was gentle and easygoing, and he had a delightful sense of humor. We saw his tenderness shine through whenever we had the privilege of traveling with him to developing countries. He recognized the dignity in every person he met. His caring and love for others were undeniable.

Most importantly, Alan never gave up on the idea that humanity can wipe out terrible diseases. His optimism was contagious, to us and everyone else who was lucky enough to know him. When we talk about the kinds of leaders we want at the foundation, we simply say: We want more people like Alan Magill.

We will miss Alan’s passion, his intellect, and his guidance. His work will continue through the strategies he set in motion. In the future, people will look back on what he did over the past few years and see it as the basis for eradicating malaria. Alan’s legacy is simple but profound: He saved lives.

Our thoughts are with his family and many friends around the world.”

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