Tireless Advocate and Philanthropist Dies
9 July 2015 at 10:29 am
Tireless advocate for medical research and animal welfare, Alastair Lucas AO, has died at the age of 63.
The Chairman of the Burnet Institute from 2002 to 2014, Lucas was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour late last year and died on Tuesday this week.
Last year Lucas was named one of the most influential people in the Not for Profit sector, voted as an inaugural member of Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25.
Close friend and the Burnet Institute’s Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb said Lucas died peacefully.
He said Lucas had a passionate commitment to medical research and international health and had touched many lives.
“Alastair leaves an outstanding legacy for all those whose lives were touched by him, and the many lives saved through his generosity and passionate support of medical and public health research,” Professor Crabb said.
“He was a great believer in science and its application to create a healthier, more equitable and better world.
“He was a passionate supporter of our work and our mission to achieve better health for the poorest and most marginalised people in our own community and throughout the world.”
Appointed to the Burnet Board in 1998, Lucas was Chairman of the Institute from 2002 to September 2014 when he stepped down following his cancer diagnosis.
As founding Chairman of the Medical Research Future Fund Action Group he advocated for the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF); was the co-founder and Chairman of Cell Care; a board member at Research Australia; and he helped to develop the Medical Research Foundation to engage Australians in philanthropy.
Lucas was also involved with animal welfare through Australia for Dolphins, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Lort Smith Animal Hospital, and Animals Australia.
In 2004, he was appointed chairman, investment banking, at Goldman Sachs Australia.
Shadow Health Minister, Catherine King, said Lucas would be missed by broad sections of the Australian community.
“As his colleagues have noted, it is impossible to understate the significance of Alastair’s leadership, and his passing deprives Australia of a magnificent advocate for the cause of medical research,” King said.
“It is especially tragic that a man who devoted so much of his life to medical research should be so cruelly and swiftly struck down by such a terrible disease and one can only hope that the legacy of Mr Lucas’ work will one day help to find the cures for cancer.”
Lucas was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his outstanding contribution to medical research and international health, animal welfare, philanthropy and the business community.