All ears stood erect when the sad news of the death of the life-saving Heimlich maneuver creator filtered in. The surgeon, Dr. Henry Heimlich was 96 years old when he died early Saturday. According to his son, Phil, the Cincinnati chest surgeon suffered a heart attack earlier in the week and was rushed to Christ Hospital where he passed on.

His name “Heimlich” grew to become a household word when he first devised the treatment for choking victims in 1974. At that time he was the director of surgery at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati.

The procedure which is comely being used today by rescuers involves the use of the fist to push in and above the navel, squeezing a victim’s abdomen abruptly so as to establish a flow of air from the lungs. It helps to push objects out of the windpipe which is basically aimed at preventing suffocation while allowing for the flow of air.

In an interview conducted in February 2014, the veteran surgeon informed The Associated Press that he was prompted to seek a solution to choking cases as a result of the increasing number of deaths reported annually.

In the United States alone, it has been estimated that the maneuver has helped save the lives of thousands of choking victims. This has earned him worldwide recognition, as well as several international awards thus making him famous. Many restaurant associations, airlines and health authorities have adopted the maneuver.

Today, Heimlich is survived by two sons and two daughters.