'Passionate' women's health advocate Linda Cardozo dies on BA flight to France

The professor's family wryly noted she might have been 'quite pleased' to learn her death was an 'international police incident'


Linda Cardozo, a leading British gynaecologist and “passionate advocate for women’s health”, has died in her sleep onboard a flight to France a week after celebrating her 73rd birthday.

Cardozo, a consultant gynaecologist at King’s College Hospital in London, fell asleep while travelling on a British Airways flight to the city of Nice, in the south of France, and did not wake up, her family confirmed.

Cardozo’s family said she had experienced health issues in previous months but had been “very much on the mend” when she boarded the flight last Thursday. In a statement thanking the airline for its “kind professionalism”, the family wryly noted that the medical trailblazer might have been “quite pleased to know her death was an international police incident”.

The Cardozo family said: "For someone so hell bent on living life to the full and so scared of retirement, it was quite a fitting end. We imagine she'd be quite pleased that even her death was an international police incident.

“We are incredibly thankful for the kind professionalism of the BA staff and the airport duty manager immediately on hand."

In 2014 Cardozo was awarded an OBE in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s honours list for services to urogynaecology and women’s health, a sub-specialty of gynaecology; she was the UK’s first professor in this field of medicine.

Cardozo told the JC at the time: “I think that this sends out a strong message regarding the quality of life of women. So often in medicine, exposure is given to high-profile specialties, dealing with life-threatening diseases and emotive issues.

“But little thought is given to the millions of women who suffer from pelvic-floor disorders, so it is for them that this honour gives me the greatest pride.”

The British Society of Urogynaecology, of which Cardozo was the founding chair, said: “Without Linda, BSUG simply would not exist.”

The organisation added that it “missed its matriarch”.

An obituary published by the BSUG describes Cardozo as an academic with “phenomenal” output and a “passionate advocate of women’s health”.

The obituary also offers a glimpse into Cardozo’s life beyond her career. It states: “Outside medicine Linda lived a full life and had a true enthusiasm and infectious energy.

“In her years as a junior doctor she trained as a pilot, gaining her licence and specialising in aerobatic flying. After meeting [her husband] Stuart she became an accomplished skier and scuba diver and had a particular love of travel and adventure.

“Closer to home she had a love of the theatre and music and a great passion for food and friendship. She was a generous host and relished being surrounded by her family, friends and colleagues.”

Cardozo is survived by her husband and their three adult children.

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