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One Of History's Most Important People Died In 2016 But Hardly Anyone Talked About It

Written by Beatriz Sanchez
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Many celebrities died this year, and though that’s terribly sad in its own right, the world seems to have forgotten about another historical figure whom we owe more than pure entertainment. His name was Dr. Donald Henderson and because of him, the world is free of smallpox.

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This man embarked on a 10-year journey across the globe, travelling to Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Somalia to find a vaccine strong enough to kill the disease. Finally, in 1967 he eradicated smallpox throughout the world.

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Though there’s a big chance you don’t even know what this disease entailed, it was a big deal then. It killed over 500 million in the 20th century alone. It looked like a rash and later, raised fluid-filled blisters. Long-term complications of the disease included characteristic scars, commonly on the face, which occurred in 65-85 percent of survivors.

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Dr. Henderson was awarded a presidential medal of freedom in 2002 for his accomplishment and the impact it had in the world. He died at the age of 87 after fracturing his hip in 2016.

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Though there’s a big chance you don’t even know what this disease entailed, it was a big deal then. It killed over 500 million in the 20th century alone. It looked like a rash and later, raised fluid-filled blisters. Long-term complications of the disease included characteristic scars, commonly on the face, which occurred in 65-85 percent of survivors.

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Dr. Henderson was awarded a presidential medal of freedom in 2002 for his accomplishment and the impact it had in the world. He died at the age of 87 after fracturing his hip in 2016.

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