Emil J Freireich, M.D., a trailblazing oncologist who developed groundbreaking therapies for childhood leukemia and came to be recognized as a founding father of modern clinical cancer research, passed away peacefully in Houston at his beloved MD Anderson Cancer Center on Feb. 1. He was 93.
Known for his confidence, passion and occasional ferocity, Freireich was a faculty member of MD Anderson for 50 years, from 1965 to 2015. He led the Leukemia Research Program for decades, training hundreds of physicians and scientists who carried on his commitment to conquering cancer. His protocols helped establish the groundwork for randomized clinical trials, and he instituted many teaching programs for graduate students, fellows and faculty to drive progress in cancer research and treatment.
He is survived by his wife, Haroldine Lee Cunningham, and his children Debra Ann Freireich-Bier (Ralph Bier); David Alan Freireich (Susan Morgan); Lindsay Gail Freireich; and Thomas Jon Freireich (Kelly Freireich). He will also be remembered by his grandchildren Emily and Ellen Freireich; Chris Cunningham (Bethany Foreman Cunningham); T.J., Sam and Macy Freireich, and his great-grandchildren Wyatt, Lyla and Myles Cunningham. Services will be held virtually; details are still being set.
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