Surgeon and musician who designed the Sydney Opera House seats passes away at 80.

Renowned physician and talented musician Earl Owen has died in Sydney. Born in 1934 into a family of doctors, as a boy Owen spent a year in hospital as a result of a birth defect, and it was during this time that he developed a passion for medicine and music.

Musically gifted, while he could have become a concert pianist, Owen decided instead to pursue a career as a surgeon. Of this decision, he said: “the thorough surgical training in surgery… followed on from [the] intense piano training to be a concert pianist while schooling”.

Owen was one of the earliest and most enterprising pioneers in the field of microsurgery. He caused considerable controversy after conducting the world’s first successful finger replacement on a child, and was subsequently discharged from the Sydney Children’s Hospital. Later, he co-led the first successful hand transplant, trained the team that completed the first double-hand transplant, and completed the first reverse vasectomy and complete fallopian tube ligature. He was a visiting professor of 87 international universities, and faculty member of Macquarie University.

Paying tribute, Dr Christopher Lekich, Vice President Australasian College of...