Victor Chang’s cause of death was tragic.
He was fatally shot during an attempted extortion, which abruptly ended the illustrious career of this esteemed Australian cardiac surgeon.
Dr. Chang accomplished groundbreaking feats, including developing heart-lung transplantation and performing Australia’s first successful heart transplant.
His achievements extended beyond the operating room, encompassing the creation of an artificial heart valve and ongoing research towards an artificial heart.
Tragically, in 1991, he lost his life unexpectedly.
Throughout his tenure at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Dr. Chang and his team achieved remarkable success, with a staggering 92% success rate in over 266 heart transplants, 22 transplants, and six single lung transplants over seven years.
His daughter Vanessa remembers his unwavering dedication, particularly in challenging situations like performing heart surgery on young patients.
In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Chang was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in 1986, the highest honor in the country.
Despite this accolade, he remained focused on advancing cardiovascular research and addressing the shortage of organ donors.
A significant step towards this goal was his team’s prosthetic heart valve project.
Who was Victor Chang?
Victor Peter Chang, a renowned Australian cardiac surgeon, was born on November 21, 1936.
Of Chinese descent, he played a pivotal role in advancing heart transplantation in the country, establishing himself as one of its pioneering figures.
His abrupt death in 1991, which shocked Australia, is regarded as one of the most infamous in the nation’s history.
Chang received a state funeral before winning the People’s Choice Award for Australian of the Century 1999.
After completing his medical studies at the University of Sydney, he worked at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
He then trained as a surgeon in the UK and the US before returning to Australia.
He founded the nation’s premier lung and heart transplant facility at St. Vincent’s Hospital, the National Cardiac Transplant Unit.
Chang led the creation of the prosthetic heart valve, and his team performed heart transplants with a high success rate.
His service to international relations between Australia and China and medical science earned him the title Companion of the Order of Australia in 1986.
Two young guys killed Chang in 1991 after an unsuccessful extortion attempt.
One of his many contributions to society is the Victor Chang Foundation, which he founded.
Following his passing, the Victor Chang Lowy Packer Building was established by St. Vincent’s Hospital, alongside the establishment of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
Victor Chang cause of death
Chang was shot twice in the head in the early hours of July 4, 1991, during an attempted extortion.
His lifeless body was discovered sprawled in the gutter behind his sleek Mercedes-Benz 500SL in the Mosman area of Sydney.
Chew Seng (Ah Sung) Liew and Choon Tee (Phillip) Lim, two Malaysian men, randomly targeted Chang after seeing him featured in a magazine as a successful Asian in Australia.
They maneuvered Chang into stopping his car by intentionally crashing their Toyota Corolla into it.
Following an argument over money, Liew fatally shot Chang with the second bullet, fired at close range, entering the right temple and piercing through his brain.
The first shot went through the right ear and exited the right cheek.
Police detectives concluded that the death was an amateurish performance after first suspecting the involvement of Triad syndicates.
Liew, the Murderer, Arrested and Sentenced to 26 Years
After abolishing capital punishment in 1985, New South Wales sentenced Liew to 26 years in jail with a 20-year non-parole period after he pled guilty.
Lim, who denied knowing Liew had a pistol, received an 18-to-24-year term.
He failed to imprison Chang twice to get $3 million.
The prosecution claimed they planned to abduct Chang, tie him up with his family at his Clontarf house, and threaten to hang them to force him to withdraw money from the bank.
Spreme Court Judge John Slattery ruled, “It was an absurd, improbable plan, always doomed to failure.”
Lim received parole on October 26, 2009.
Parole hearing rescheduled, delaying release.
Public uproar and objections from Minister John Robertson.
Additionally, the New South Wales Supreme Court overturned the ruling because the Parole Authority made a procedural error.
Immigration authorities waited outside Parramatta Correctional Centre to take Lim on March 1, 2010.
Due to technical problems, the deportation flight to Kuala Lumpur on March 2 was canceled.
However, on March 3, they airlifted him out of Australia.
Liew, who spent 21 years in incarceration, received parole.
Moreoever, during his parole hearing, he expressed remorse for his crime and acknowledged that his long prison sentence had contributed to his personal growth.
On October 12, 2012, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith reversed his statement and released Liew from prison with immigration agents.
He returned to Malaysia the next day.