Canadian university professor dies while summiting Mount Everest

May 26 2023, 8:06 pm

A physician and professor at the University of British Columbia has tragically died while on a mission to summit Mount Everest.

Dr. Pieter Swart died on May 25 while descending the mountain because of a “respiratory event,” the university said in a news release Friday.

“As many of you know Pieter had an insatiable wanderlust,” the university said in a statement provided by a colleague. “Pieter was lost to us while bravely pursuing his dream of being on top of the world, since he was nine.”

Swart had already made it to the top of Everest, and died while coming down from Camp 4 on Everest/Chomolungma. Details of the respiratory event are now yet known.

He documented his journey up the world’s tallest mountain on Instagram, where his most recent post characterizes a climb on the Khumbu Ice Fall as the “perfect day.”


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A post shared by Pieter Swart (@petrus_swart)

His colleague Hamed Umedaly said Swart was a “highly capable and trusted” anesthesiologist who was a leader and strong educator — a favourite of fellows and residents.

“He inspired so many,” Umedaly said. “Pieter’s sense of humour was second to none. Laughing was always part of the encounter and you always parted smiling. He was a trusted friend to many.”

His friends and colleagues are working with his family on a memorial and celebration of life. Swart leaves behind his wife, Suretha, and two grown children, Marna and Pieter. His mother and siblings are in South Africa.

“There will be stories to tell of the tremendous effect he had on all of us and his patients,” Umedaly said. “I’m sure you will all agree that we were all enriched, and the world is a better place, because Pieter Swart lived.”

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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