NEW YORK – The former health minister and cardiologist Dr. Dimitris Kremastinos passed away on May 8 in Athens due to the coronavirus. He was 78.
Many prominent figures in politics in Greece, including President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the heads of the major political parties, expressed their sadness and offered condolences to the family. Many members of the Greek-American community, especially those with roots in the Dodecanese also expressed sadness over the loss of Dr. Kremastinos.
In New York, the Board of Directors of the Federation of Dodecanese Societies of America and Canada, including President Maria Marangos (Kalymnos), expressed their grief and condolences in a post on social media on May 9. The Federation statement noted that Dr. Kremastinos was an ardent patriot whose ethics and moderation were always close to the Dodecanese and he will be remembered for his contributions and efforts in science as well as in politics.
The Pan-Rhodian Society of America Apollon New York Chapter No. 3, on behalf of its entire Board of Directors and its members, expressed sorrow over the untimely loss of Dr. Kremastinos. In the statement via email from President Nikos Kartalis, the Society expressed heartfelt condolences to the Kremastinos family, relatives and friends, and also expressed gratitude for Kremastinos’ ethos and contributions, both in politics and in the scientific field, as well as his contributions to Rhodes, the Dodecanese, and all of Greece.
Born on May 1, 1942 on the island of Halki in the Dodecanese, Kremastinos grew up on the island of Rhodes in Archangelos, before studying medicine at the University of Athens and the University of London. Returning to his homeland, he set up a specialized cardiac intensive care unit in one of the Greek capital’s main public hospitals, and ran the cardiac department of the Athens General State Hospital and the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center.
Kremastinos was a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He joined the center-left PASOK socialist party, which dominated Greek politics for more than 30 years, from its creation in 1974, and stuck with it as it changed in 2018 into KINAL.
The former health minister had been admitted to Athens’ Evangelismos hospital with medical complications related to COVID-19 on March 26. He served as a minister in PASOK governments, as vice-president of the Greek Parliament, as well as an MP for the Dodecanese islands with PASOK and the Democratic Coalition. He was also an Emeritus Professor of Cardiology at the University of Athens, Director of the Hellenic College of Cardiology, elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, President of the Hellenic Society of Cardiology and the Hellenic College of Cardiology as well as a director of Attica hospitals.
Kremastinos was married to Dr. Jenny Kourea-Kremastinou.
President of Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou expressed her deep sorrow over the death of Dimitris Kremastinos in a post on her Twitter account, noting that Kremastinos had served medical science and politics with consistency, kindness, modesty, and good ethics and expressed her deep condolences to his relatives.
"The world of science and politics has lost a distinguished member today," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis posted on Twitter.