‘Top forensic doctor’ Sherif R. Zaki dies at 65

Joanna Connors, CNN • Updated 16th June 2017

( CNN ) — One of the world’s foremost medical detectives has died, his family announced this week.

Dr. Sherif R. Zaki, 65, helped to uncover key medical mysteries with cases ranging from the mystery death of a Chicago singer in 1996 to a young man who died from a brain hemorrhage in Mexico in 2005.

In the latter case, Turkish authorities insisted the man, Anoushah Shah, had been murdered. Instead, he showed signs of a brain hemorrhage, likely brought on by two concussions he had suffered in an earlier car accident.

Dr. Sherif R. Zaki.

The man’s body was found in the wreckage, and his brain was later examined by Zaki, who was then the head of the Egyptian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Cairo.

According to CNN’s Jake Tapper , Shah died nine days after the collision.

“The brain showed signs of hemorrhaging and was looking very, very pale and already absent brain cells,” Tapper reported Zaki saying in court, an account he echoed in the Turkish paper çogançar.

“Hemorrhaging is a sign of having no blood supply, not of a hemorrhage itself, only that the blood supply is incomplete,” Zaki added, later according to CNN’s Poppy Harlow.

Researchers were able to use Shah’s example to help determine whether sudden brain deaths are caused by small brain hemorrhages with no pulse.

Zaki’s findings provided new clues to help make that determination.

In 1996, singer Kathy Charboneau died at the age of 52. Her family and close friends held a private funeral, but many later tried to cover up the body’s true condition.

Investigators tried to determine how Charboneau died from natural causes, and when they ran into trouble, they turned to Zaki to identify the real cause of her death.

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