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Who is Dr Victor Chang, the famous Australian heart surgeon honoured by the Google Doodle?

A famous heart surgeon would have turned 87 today if he hadn’t been murdered in a suburb of Sydney more than three decades ago.

Born in China, Dr Victor Chang would become one of Australia’s most important cardiac surgeons, performing a heart transplant on a 14-year-old and saving hundreds of lives.

Victor Chang was born in Shanghai in 1936 and sent to Australia to stay with extended family in the early 1950s. Chang eventually went on to study in the US and UK before returning to St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

In Sydney, he worked alongside the doctors who performed Australia’s first heart transplant in 1968, according to the research institute named for him.

Chang would perform the country’s first successful heart transplant in 1984. A month later, he operated on 14-year-old Fiona Coote, who would become the longest-surviving heart transplant recipient in the country.

He was also known for developing an artificial heart valve that could be used in surgery.

The surgeon was awarded Australia’s highest honour in 1986 "in recognition of service to international relations between Australia and China and to medical science".

Chang was murdered in 1991 at the age of 54 in a failed extortion attempt. Three years later, a research institute was established in his name.

According to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, the death of Chang’s mother in 1948 due to breast cancer influenced his choice to pursue medicine.

The first successful human-to-human heart transplant, where a patient’s heart was replaced with a donor's heart, was performed by Christiaan Barnard in 1967 in South Africa. 

The recipient died a month later but the transplant was considered to be successful.

The next year there were around 100 heart