It is with great sadness that the World Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology and entire Interventional Pulmonary community mourn the loss of Dr Yoichi Watanabe, who recently lost his battle with a long illness at the young age of 62. Dr Watanabe graduated from Tottori University Faculty of Medicine in 1976 and went on to become a Clinical Professor at Okayama University School of Medicine and Executive Vice President of the Japanese Red Cross Okayama Hospital in Okayama, Japan. Although his research interests were devoted to experimental models of lung cancer, Dr Watanabe is most known for his design and development of the Watanabe Spigot and his introduction of concepts underlying the use of bronchial silicone plugs in the treatment of patients with pneumothorax or emphysema. He was the recipient of several awards including the prestigious Ohata and Ikeda awards from the Japanese Society of Respiratory Endoscopy. Dr Watanabe was a strong supporter of the WABIP and an inspiration to all embarking on a career in interventional pulmonology. His smile, his joyful presence, and his innovative and creative spirit will be dearly missed.
–Henri Colt, MD, FCCP