WES president and co-founder Professor Rodolphe Maheux dies

9 May 2007

In Memoriam: Rodolphe Maheux 1951 – 2007

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Professor Rodolphe Maheux, who co-founded the World Endometriosis Society, and was serving as its president when he died suddenly in his home on 9 May 2007 aged 56.

Rodolphe has had a distinguished career in his chosen speciality of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He was one of the leading figures in the establishment of our World Endometriosis Society n 1998 and underpinned its development from its i inception in his role as secretary, where he established a solid foundation and administrative base, our website, and eJournal. He became President in 2005 and his presidential project was to establish the World Endometriosis Research Foundation, which has just begun to raise funds for research projects to be funded in open competition.

He was very much looking forward to see the fruits of all this hard work resulting in new research into endometriosis, and to present his vision at the next World Congress of Endometriosis in March 2008 in Australia.

These achievements for our Society follow on from other important contributions which Professor Rodolphe Maheux made to obstetrics and gynaecology within Canada and in the worldwide arena. He was a highly respected clinician and academic professor at Laval University in Quebec and research and published extensively within the field of Reproductive Medicine, his name appearing regularly as invited guest speaker at international meetings.

He served as the 51st president of The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) in 1994/5 and is credited for ushering the SOGC into the new information age, and had been a past president of The Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Quebec. More recently he was a member of the executive board of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (FIGO) allowing him to bring his enthusiasm and leadership in Obstetrics and Gynaecology to a world arena.

Despite all of these important roles, Rodolphe was committed to his wife Marie and children. He loved the outdoors, waterskiing, and his farm in the Beauce region of Quebec, where he had planted hundreds of trees and done much of the landscaping work himself. He had a passion for good food and wine, and wherever you might meet abroad at a congress, he would know the best restaurants to visit, and you could be certain of an enjoyable evening in his company.

Many of us have not only lost a visionary for our World Endometriosis Society, but someone we would count amongst our friends.

I am sure you will join with me in offering our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Rodolphe Maheux.

Professor Robert Shaw
Immediate Past President of WES (2005-2008)

It is a special moment for me to write these few words in memory of Dr Rodolphe Maheux, my closest friend, companion, and collaborator

Rodolphe Maheux will be sadly missed by me and by his family, friends and colleagues. We all will miss his contagious enthusiasm and bursting energy.

Rodolphe was a tenured professor at Laval University in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, a clinician of international reputation in gynaecology and reproductive pathologies related to infertility.

Rodolphe Maheux was first of all a man of great values, a man who loved and was very close to his family, a proud father and grandfather and a friend that one could rely on. He loved life and was passionate about everything he did.

He was devoted to his work, appreciated by his patients for his compassionate and caring approach, a passionate researcher and an innovativeteacher and lecturer.

His hobbies and outside interests were numerous. Passionate about nature, he loved spending spare time on his farm near his home town Saint-Georges-de-Beauce in Quebec taking care of his wild flower garden and producing his own maple syrup and honey.

Rodolphe was actively involved in many scientific and professional organisations at the local, national and international levels: One of the most innovative head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology of Laval university, president of the SOGC, member of the CFAS board of directors, president of the WES…).

He was a man of great vision who actively contributed to the foundation of the WES, devoted a considerable time and effort to it, and greatly contributed to advancing our knowledge of endometriosis as a physician and researcher dedicated to the cause.

It was a great privilege to know and work with him…

“Salut mon ami!”

Professor Ali Akoum
Member of the WES Council (2005-2008)

Rodolphe Maheux has died, we have lost our president, we have lost a friend.

Thursday morning, 10th of May, I received an e-mail from Ali Akoum stating:

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that my friend, colleague and close collaborator Dr Rodolphe Maheux passed away at his home yesterday”.

And the world stopped for a second.

Rodolphe was only 56 when he died, at the summit of a scientific career, but at the same time highly respected by his patients. A great organiser, a considerate chairman, a wonderful friend. He was full of plans, especially for our society. It was only a few days before his sad demise that he sent me a copy of the 2nd edition of his “Handbook of hormonal contraception and office gynecology” which illustrated that he was not afraid to take strong stands on important issues. That’s also how he turned the World Endometriosis Society into what it is today. He not only talked about his plans, he realised them:

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are: it might have been!”

I first met Rodolphe in 1989 in Houston, having a café latte during a break of the scientific sessions at the 2nd World Congress on Endometriosis. And we continued working together ever since, sometimes close, sometimes at a distance. Throughout the years it has been a great privilege to work with him, both in the informal years of the society and after Quebec, where, at HIS meeting, a real society (with bylaws) was established.

We have received so many letters of compassion and commiseration at his untimely death. On behalf of the WES I wish to thank you all for these. Rodolphe will be sadly missed by all of us, but first and foremost our thoughts are with his family.

For the World Endometriosis Society the loss is beyond repair. But in the spirit of Rodolphe: the society will continue its mission. Until the WES General Assembly in Melbourne on 13 March 2008, Robert Shaw (immediate past president) and I (president elect) will jointly take care of business together with our secretariat.

The WES Council has decided to name an award in the honour of Rodolphe for the best clinical abstract presented at the 10th World Congress on Endometriosis by a first author under the age of 40 at the time of the congress.

The winner of “The Rodolphe Maheux Award for Best Clinical Presentation by a Promising Young Clinician” will be presented with a cheque for €1,000 at the closing ceremony of WCE 2008.

Professor Hans Evers
WES President-elect (2005-2008)


Rodolphe was an excellent friend and a great, great man. What he did in favour of women’s health and the disclosure of what endometriosis really is, will never be forgotten.

He visited us recently and we spent a pleasant day at a countryside ranch. It was an unforgettable venue, where we talked long and deeply about our common focus of interest: endometriosis and women’s wellbeing, among other topics such as horses, fishing and mountains.

Rodolphe and his son enchanted all of us. They flew away together to Mendoza, and crossed over the Andes to Chile.

His last conference at our Argentinean Endometriosis Congress – as I told you before – was the best example of a Professor giving an outstanding lecture I recall in all of my professional life. He was a Professor with capital letters, from the bottom of his heart.

Our society should be dedicated to his memory. I propose his name, somehow, should forever be linked to WES.

Please, if you contact his family, give them my best regards. We lost a very dear friend. We are very sorry. It will not be easy to overcome his absence.

Sincerely yours,

Edgardo Rolla
Vice President, Argentinean Endometriosis Society


What dreadful news –

Our deepest sympathies go out to Rodolphe’s family and friends.

Rodolphe was a delightful companion and professional colleague, whom I had the privilege of knowing for over 20 years.

Australia and AGES was looking forward to hosting Rodolphe and his family at WCE2008 in Melbourne next March. All Australian colleagues will be saddened by this news.

But that is nothing compared with the grief of Rodolphe’s family and friends. I can only hope they find comfort in the knowledge that Rodolphe was respected and very well liked, half a world away, in Australia.

Please convey our sincere sympathies to Rodolphe’s family from all in Australia.

In shock

Professor David Healy
On behalf of AGES


I was very sad to learn of the passing of Dr Maheux, and would be most grateful if you could pass on sincere condolences to his family from all of us at the Australian Gynaecological Endoscopy Society.

Warm regards, Michele Bender


May his soul rest in peace.  He was a very good man

Camran Nezhat


This news is very distressing. Rodolphe had still so much more to do. I feel very sympathetic to his wife and family for whom it surely is an immense shock, to his Laval university team and colleagues, his replacement will not be an easy task, to his friends, so many in Québec, Canada and around the world, and to our scientific community. It is a great loss and I personally will miss him terribly.

Thank you for telling us so quickly.

With my best regards,

Bernard Hedon


This makes me completely stoned and shocked! This kind of accidents we never can imagine will happen! He was a young man! I share your sorrow deeply!

Agneta Bergqvist


I too am shocked and share in the sadness. Rodolphe was a terrific guy and contributed greatly to advancing our knowledge of endometriosis. He will be missed.

Robert Schenken


We, too, are deeply saddened by this news and fully support an award in his honour.

Linda Giudice


This really is the saddest news.

I had to re-read your e-mail twice and still have problems believing it. Words fail me to express my grief. Rodolphe has definitely put the WCE and the WES on the map and he was always full of so many good ideas, not only for the society but also for new research into endometriosis. It will be impossible to replace him of course but we owe it to him to protect his seedling, the WES, and see it into a mighty tree.

Please convey my sincere sympathy to his wife and family. His many friends in this part of the world are appalled by this news, the saddest one can receive.

Hans Evers


I too have very happy memories of Rodolphe. I’m sure that you’ll pass condolences to his family on our behalf

Bill Ledger


This is very sad news.

Please bring our condolences (WERF board) over to the family of Dr Maheux.

Kind regards,
Thomas D’Hooghe


Rodolphe will be sadly missed by us all, and our thoughts go first out to his family.

It is an irreparable loss for us as friends and colleagues, but it is an immense loss for the scientific community and the World Endometriosis Society in particular. Rodolphe had made a strong contribution to our activities, and was a staunch supporter of the Society. Rodolphe has given it his energy, enthusiasm and great vision and actively contributed to its foundation. To honor his memory, I propose to immortalize his name and actions through the creation of “Rodolphe Maheux’s Endometriosis Research Award”. I propose to discuss this during our next teleconference, highlight his achievements during the World Endometriosis Congress in Melbourne and hopefully concretize in the presence of all attendees the creation of such a well-deserved award. This would be the expression of our “MERCI” to a great man and one of us!

“Nothing makes us as great as a great sadness.”

Ali Akoum


We were very sad to hear about the sudden loss of the President of the World Society of Endometriosis, Rodolphe Maheux. We would like to express our deepest condolences to his family and to the World Society of Endometriosis

Eug. Koumantakis
President of the Hellenic Society of Endometriosis
Ioannis Matalliotakis
Vice President of the Hellenic Society of Endometriosis


I thank you for email concerning Rodolphe.

I am really destroyed and, in no way, I was expecting such a terrible and sudden issue.

Rodolphe was one of my few friends, and I was admiring all its great qualities in many aspects…..I am so sad.

Sincerely yours
Alain Audebert


That is very sad news indeed. We talked about him yesterday

Philippe Koninckx


I share your feelings for Rodolphe. It will be appropriate to create a suitable tribute to him.

Best regards, David Adamson


Lone, Unfortunately your fantastic news regarding the European Grant is overshadowed by the news of Rodolphe’s untimely death. He was the leading light in the WES from its instigation and truly committed to see the WES develop. As a personal friend of mine he will be a great loss to the international scene of Endometriosis Research.

Bob Shaw


Having just come back from a trip overseas, I was deeply shocked to read your email.

Rodolphe was a very good friend of mine. Indeed, we regularly spoke on the phone.

I am very saddened by this truly devastating news. It is difficult to add anything more.

J. Donnez


It was with shock and sadness that the ERC learned of the sudden passage of Professor Rodolphe Maheux, President of the World Endometriosis Society. We join the global Endometriosis community, patients and professionals alike, in mourning this painful loss.

Among countless other professional and personal accomplishments, Professor Maheux co-founded the World Endometriosis Society in 1998. The ERC first became familiar with his extensive work over a decade ago, and we have followed his professional journey and visionary efforts with great interest and respect, looking to him as a leader in our field. Throughout the span of his truly global career, Professor Maheux’s contributions and advances to the understanding of Endometriosis in the academic, medical and patient communities are immeasurable.

The ERC will continue to contribute to the research community in his honor and memory, and he will be sorely missed.

Please join the ERC in extending our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, loved ones, patients, colleagues and all those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Sincerely yours,
Michelle E. Marvel, Founder & Executive Director
Heather Guidone, Member, Executive Board of Directors
Denise Childs, Director of Fundraising
Kimberly Latona, Director of Special Projects
and the extended ERC Family


With great sadness I have heard about Rodolphe leaving this world. He had just welcomed me so nicely onto our Executive Board. What a loss, let us pray for him and establish the “Rodolphe Maheux’s Endometriosis Research Award”.

Lilo Mettler


It is a great shock and sadness for us to learn of the loss of Rodolphe Maheux, M.D., a long-time friend of women with endometriosis.

Among Rodolphe’s most important legacies are the World Endometriosis Society as well as his openness to looking at the full range of experiences of women with endometriosis (particularly quality of life) and the involvement of patients.

He will be greatly missed! The best way we can all honour his memory is to continue the important work of building awareness and understanding and science related to endometriosis.

Mary Lou Ballweg
President/Executive Director, Endometriosis Association


The shocking news of the untimely death of Dr. RODOLPHE MAHEUX of Quebec, the co-founder of the World Endometriosis Society has by now circulated in most academic circles. Everyone in Endometriosis knows all that he did for the field so I will not go on about it here as it is well published on the Internet at other places.

I will tell you my RM story. I remember a lunch years ago when OBGYN.net donated the first WES website and we met with him at ISGE in Montreal, with Lucy Fellichisimo, who was then managing and helped start the WES. He took myself and Bruce out to a very special restaurant in Montreal for the strawberries and pepper. He said, “I know it sounds terrible but it is a perfect combination!”, and it was. Much like him, sweet, but also fiery and surprising.

He had driven over in a recent model, white Mercedes convertible. He had bought it for peanuts from the husband of a very wealthy infertility patient who had just delivered her second baby because of his care. It was by way of a thank you that the car was sold at such a ridiculous price. Rodolphe was enjoying it immensely that day. Both the car and the story behind it. He enjoyed life. He enjoyed the story of how it unfolded just as much, from what I could tell.

Fifty-five is too young to die. Even in your sleep from what was probably a brain aneurysm. Better to die while living then live while dying, they say. Especially someone with his energy and verve for life. But very sad news for the rest of us.

The likes of Rodolophe Maheux will not come our way again.

Roberta Speyer
President, OBGYN.net