With the deepest sadness, we report that Dr Ian Portelli has lost his valiant battle with a brutal illness.
You can find details of Ian’s career and achievements here, but we would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to what he meant to the Crisis Response Journal team.
Ian was utterly dedicated to his work and uncompromising in his constant quest for perfection, but his seriousness in this regard was always tempered by his irreverent humour and a broad grin. He was immensely kind and tirelessly caring of others, helping people with their lives, wellbeing, careers and future, stepping in without hesitation as soon as he saw anyone who needed assistance – not only within his medical capacity, but also in daily life.
He saved lives, and was a hero by any definition, even more so because he never considered himself to be one – this is one of the very rare instances of him being mistaken.
Ian helped to push CRJ constantly, galvanising the team with his unfettered thinking and his emphasis that science, technology and research are the solutions to so many of the problems that humanity faces today.
Everyone who was privileged to come into his orbit was initially astonished, then profoundly impressed by his charisma, boundless enthusiasm, critical thinking, passion for helping and his caring nature. He was self-deprecating; he never truly seemed to understand how many hundreds – if not thousands – of lives he changed for the better.
Layer after layer of his breathtaking mind showed what a true polymath Ian was – and he was a man of perpetually charming contradictions. He had endless patience but, equally, was ferocious when it came to protecting and defending those within his care. He was a self-confessed geek and a lover of technology; he loved motorbikes and tattoos, rugby, art and history, science and fiction, loud music and poetry, Scotch and working out. Above all, he loved his two young sons, and his complete devotion to them was clear to everyone.
We have made all the articles Ian wrote for CRJ available for free so everyone can read, appreciate, learn and be inspired. These form just a tiny part of his legacy to the world – his work at Vassar Bros, his research, programmes and all the people whose lives he touched will ensure that his gifts will live on.
The aphorism goes that nobody is irreplaceable. This does not apply in Ian’s case – we have lost a treasure. The worlds of science, medicine, research and crisis response have lost an invaluable force; we are all the poorer without Ian Portelli and his vision, creativity, drive and enthusiasm. He has inspired us and so many others – this work in CRJ’s R&D sections will carry on in his name.
It was an honour and a privilege to work with Ian and to know him. Our sincerest condolences to all of his family, friends and loved ones. He will be missed.
Ian's obituary and further details of how you can leave condolences can be found here