Stephan Weiland died suddenly on 19 March 2007 after a full day's work at his institute in Ulm and an evening swim. Stephan was a well-trained sportsman—he was a marathon runner, a mountain climber, and a dedicated cyclist. At the time of his death he was preparing for a triathlon.
Stephan was born in Münster on 25 December 1958. He studied medicine at the University of Cologne from 1978 to 1985, followed by 2 years of surgery training at the University Hospital of Cologne. From 1987 to 1989 he studied at McGill University in Montreal, where he completed an MSc degree in epidemiology.
He joined the Department of Social Medicine and Epidemiology at Ruhr-University Bochum in 1990. In 1993 he accepted a position at the University of Münster, and in 2002 he moved to the University of Ulm where he was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology.
Stephan started his career in the field of occupational epidemiology. He created a large historical cohort study and a surveillance project in the German rubber industry, which over the years produced a number of landmark papers. Early in his career, he also became interested in the epidemiology of asthma and allergies. Together with colleagues in England, New Zealand, and Germany, he started the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood—the well-known ISAAC Project. Throughout his career, Stephan was particularly dedicated to this project, and became one of the most important members of the ISAAC family. The international community will perhaps remember him best for his contributions to this worldwide endeavor. He had a sincere interest in science, and was always a pleasant and stimulating person to work with.
Stephan Weiland viewed epidemiology as a contributor to clinical medicine and as a basic science of public health. One of his last papers is titled “Increasing life expectancy in Germany.” His paper begins by reporting the impressive increases of life expectancy during the last decades. It goes on to note that, despite this progress, nearly 20% of men and 10% of women die before reaching the age of 65. It is heart-breaking to realize that Stephan belongs to this group. He was beloved by his friends and colleagues, and will be sorely missed.