Dr. Richard Daines, Former Health Commissioner, Dies At 60

Published on March 01, 2011, 10:27 am
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Dr. Richard F. Daines, the former state health commissioner who presided over hospital downsizing, the fight against swine flu and an unsuccessful attempt to enact a soda tax, died Saturday at his family farm in Dutchess County.

The death was confirmed by Claudia Hutton, his former press secretary, who said that Dr. Daines, 60, was found by the State Police in a barn on his property, where he had been taking down Christmas decorations. It appears that Dr. Daines, who had been in good health, had a heart attack, but the cause of death has not been confirmed, Ms. Hutton said.

Dr. Daines was appointed health commissioner by Gov. Eliot Spitzer and served from 2007 to 2010, stepping down when Andrew M. Cuomo became governor. He had recently accepted an appointment as a visiting scholar at the New York Academy of Medicine.

He graduated from Cornell Medical School in 1978 and worked for many years at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. He went to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan in 2000 as medical director, and became president and chief executive in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, Linda; his children, William, Katherine and Andrew; one grandson; his parents, Newell and Jean; and siblings.

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