Pictured: King’s College gynaecologist who died on BA flight from London to Nice ‘in her sleep’ next to her husband – as 73-year-old’s family lead tributes to ‘pioneer’ and ‘popular’ academic

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Pictured: King’s College gynaecologist who died on BA flight from London to Nice ‘in her sleep’ next to her husband – as 73-year-old’s family lead tributes to ‘pioneer’ and ‘popular’ academic

Tributes have been paid to one the UK's top gynaecologists after she died in her sleep on a British Airways flight.Professor Linda Cardozo tragic

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Tributes have been paid to one the UK’s top gynaecologists after she died in her sleep on a British Airways flight.

Professor Linda Cardozo tragically passed away while on a flight from London to Nice on Thursday night, just a week after celebrating her 73rd birthday.

A professor of urogynaecology and consultant gynaecologist at King’s College Hospital, London, her employer paid tribute to her as a ‘true pioneer’.

Her family said that after having health issues in previous months, Prof Cardozo was getting better, and had been heading to Nice for a week’s holiday on Thursday, September 21.

She had been alongside her husband Stuart Hutcheson when they both fell asleep, but Prof Cardozo did not wake up when the plane landed, the Times reports.

Professor Linda Cardozo, pictured, died on a flight from London to Nice on Thursday, September 21

Professor Linda Cardozo, pictured, died on a flight from London to Nice on Thursday, September 21

Professor Linda Cardozo, pictured, died on a flight from London to Nice on Thursday, September 21

The 73-year-old, pictured, fell asleep next to her husband, but didn't wake up after the plane landed

The 73-year-old, pictured, fell asleep next to her husband, but didn't wake up after the plane landed

The 73-year-old, pictured, fell asleep next to her husband, but didn’t wake up after the plane landed

The emergency services were called to the plane, which had landed under the call sign BA  348, but despite the best efforts of medics nothing could be done to save her.

In a statement given to the publication her family said that most other passengers had already left the plane by the time it discovered she had passed away.

They said that after suffering health troubles in recent months, Prof Cardozo had been ‘very much on the mend’ and was ‘the life of the party’ at a wedding two weeks ago.

Prof Cardozo had been planning on returning to work ‘in some capacity’ after her holiday, they said.

In the statement, her family said: ‘For someone so hell bent on living life to the full and so scared of retirement, it was quite a fitting end. 

‘We imagine she’d be quite pleased that even her death was an international police incident.’

They added: ‘We are incredibly thankful for the kind professionalism of the BA staff and the airport duty manager immediately on hand.’

Prof Cardozo was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to urogynaecology and women’s health, and has also received lifetime achievement awards from  International Continence Society and the British Society of Urogynaecology.

Tributes have been paid to the professor, who was described by colleagues as a 'true pioneer' in the field of urogynaecology

Tributes have been paid to the professor, who was described by colleagues as a 'true pioneer' in the field of urogynaecology

Tributes have been paid to the professor, who was described by colleagues as a ‘true pioneer’ in the field of urogynaecology

She also served as president of the International Urogynaecological Association, European Urogynaecological Association, Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health and Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Royal Society of Medicine.

In a tribute Dr Leonie Penna, chief medical officer at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Linda worked at King’s for 44 years and was a true pioneer in the field of urogynaecology. 

‘She was also popular and highly respected by her patients and colleagues alike. 

‘She will be sorely missed and the thoughts of everyone at King’s are with her family at this difficult time.’

Following her death a spokesperson for British Airways told MailOnline: ‘Sadly, a customer passed away on a flight from London Heathrow to Nice. Our thoughts are with the customer’s family at this difficult time.’

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