Anil “Monty” Kapoor: Surgeon. Father. Partner. Friend. Born April 30, 1964, in Montreal; died Feb. 28, 2023, in Toronto; of a chemotherapy medication dosing error; aged 58.
From a young age, Anil Kapoor was a trailblazer. He followed his interests fully, exploring new opportunities and meeting people of all stripes.
He was the eldest child of immigrant parents (both professors at St. Mary’s University in Halifax) who gave their three sons nicknames based on where they were born. Since Anil was born in Montreal, he went by “Monty.” In high school, Monty showed exceptional hand-eye co-ordination and made intricate models. This talent set the stage for his career as a gifted surgeon.
Anil attended Dalhousie University for his BSc in mathematics and engineering. In 1985, while continuing engineering at McGill, he switched to medicine and went back to Dalhousie (ignoring his father’s displeasure with the career change).
In Nova Scotia’s South Asian community, Monty was a role model and maverick. During university, he started a DJ business with his friend Arun Mathur. Monty’s cool and confident nature behind the mic made the duo popular, a skill that was later manifested as a much sought-after speaker.
In 1992, Anil moved to Winnipeg and specialized in Urology at the University of Manitoba. He completed a fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and, in 1999, he joined McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he worked until his death. At McMaster, he became a full professor at age 48. Anil conducted the first laparoscopic renal donor transplant in Canada and the first laparoscopic renal aneurysm repair in Canada. With his colleagues, he offered the first laparoscopic nephrectomy course in Canada at McMaster. He was successful at the most challenging surgical cases that no one else could tackle. Anil’s wit often lightened the mood as he put patients as well as members of the operating room team at ease. In his role as Royal College examiner, he made sure residents stopped to take a breath before the anxiety-inducing oral exams. Patients and their families often commented on his humanity.
Monty’s son, Akshay, remembers watching him operate. His father took over a tricky procedure expertly maneuvering his surgeon’s tools like they were extensions of his own limbs. “He excised the tumor in a way that can only be described as artistic,” Akshay recalled, realizing that, whatever career he chose, he wanted to be like his father: “The guy who can do what no one else can, the hero that saves the day.”
Anil was also skilled at wrangling an upgrade. When told there was no room in business class for a 17-hour flight, Anil traded his just-released BlackBerry for a better seat. And while Monty was often late for social events – friends and family called it running on Kapoor Standard Time – when he arrived, he was always the life of the party, with his stylish attire, risqué humour, loving hugs and gregarious personality. Even his mother described him as an affectionate, but naughty child. Whenever Anil came back home to Dartmouth to visit, he always asked his mother to make aloo parantha and gol guppas.
He found love later in life with Tiffany Pizioli, CEO of the Canadian Urological Association, an organization for which Anil volunteered for 19 years. Their friendship blossomed into unexpected and unconditional love while both went through separation and divorce. They found a way to sustain their love despite the Montreal to Toronto commute and made their home in both cities.
In January 2023, Anil was shocked to discover he had colon cancer. He wanted to keep his diagnosis secret as he was told his cancer was curable. So he carried on “business as usual,” only sharing his illness with his immediate family before his surgery. Tragically, a few weeks after his first and only dose of chemotherapy, Anil died from a chemotherapy dosing error.
Anil Kapoor was a leader and member of many urological academic communities. He was a gifted surgeon but also never hesitated to hug a patient if that was needed, too.
Sunil Kapoor and Vimal Kapoor are Anil’s brothers. Akshay Kapoor and Jeevan Kapoor are Anil’s sons
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