Former Medtronic vice chairman and surgeon Glen Nelson dies at age 79

Glen Nelson, MD, a surgeon and former Medtronic executive, died on May 14, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The newspaper said Nelson was in Egypt receiving treatment when he died of congestive heart failure. He was 79.

Nelson was a general surgeon and later the CEO and chairman at Park Nicollet Medical Center from 1975 to 1986, according to the Star Tribune.

From 1988 to 2002, Nelson served as Medtronic’s vice chairman, where he oversaw the company’s growth into a major medical device manufacturer. Medtronic said in a news release that Nelson worked with Medtronic founder Earl Bakken and three CEOs to help the company expand into areas such as defibrillators, heart valves and stents and therapies to treat diabetes and neurovascular and spinal conditions.

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George told the Star Tribune that Nelson helped Medtronic make $13 billion in acquisitions during his tenure.

“Glen was the consummate visionary and pioneer, and his impact on health care and the medical technology industry is matched by few others,” Medtronic CEO and chairman Omar Ishrak said in a news release. “Glen’s contributions to Medtronic and to the numerous hospitals and medical technology companies he has advised and lead over decades has translated into millions of people around the world living healthier, longer lives. I, along with Medtronic’s current and past employees around the world, am truly grateful for Glen’s numerous contributions to Medtronic, and we send our deepest condolences to Marilyn and the entire Nelson family.”