Renowned surgical gastroenterologist N Rangabashyam today died at his residence here, family sources said.

He was 79.

“He died in his sleep peacefully early this morning,” a statement from his family said. It did not specify the cause of his death.

Rangabashyam, a Padma Bhushan award recipient, is survived by wife and two children.

Considered as a pioneer in surgical gastroenterology and proctology in the country, Rangabashyam was credited with various efforts including starting the first M.Ch. (Surgical Gastroenterology) degree course in India, besides the Ostomy Department in the Madras General Hospital.

He also established the first enterostomal therapy diploma for nursing professionals in the country, the release said.

His contributions on colitis, bowel cancer, other gastro-intestinal cancers, portal hypertension and bowel disease in the tropics have had a major impact, it said, adding the deceased had contributed and published various articles on liver surgery, pancreatitis, ileal and colonic problem and paprostomy.

Many accolades came his way and this included his being appointed as the Honorary Surgeon to the President of India by former President R Venkataraman.

Rangabashyam was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and won the prestigious Dr B C Roy National Award twice.

He was also elected as a Fellow of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, Academy of Medical Sciences, India and Academy of Medical Sciences, Singapore.

Among others, he was Member — Advisory Panel for Gastro Intestinal Surgery, National Academy of Medical Sciences (India), New Delhi and Member, Permanent Committee for the Fixation of fee structure for Private Professional Educational Institutions in Tamil Nadu, Chennai.