Pioneering child health researcher Sir Bob Elliott dies

Sir Bob Elliott, described as "a shining bright light" in Kiwi children's health, has died.

 One of New Zealand's greatest medical minds, Sir Bob is best known for the heel prick test given to all new-born babies which has been adopted internationally.

The test identifies Cystic Fibrosis at birth - allowing it to be treated immediately before the disease does too much damage to lungs. It increased the life expectancy of people with the illness from 7 to 10 years to more than 40 years.

Sir Bob's test has saved thousands of lives and impacted millions worldwide.

Sir Bob was knighted four weeks ago in recognition for his medical research.

He has most recently been fighting to get the "miracle drug" Trikafta funded to fight Cystic Fibrosis in New Zealand - giving $100,000 of his own money to teenager Bella Powell so she did not die from the disease.

Sir Bob was also the founder of Cure Kids - the largest funder of child health research outside the Government.

He pioneered the transplantation of insulin-producing pig cells into humans to treat Type One diabetes.

His research into A2 milk compounds led to the establishment of the A2 Milk Corporation.

Frances Benge, Cure Kids CEO, said New Zealand lost a "shining bright light" in child health research with Sir Bob's passing

Benge said the Cure Kids team is deeply saddened by his passing and their sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to Sir Bob's family, as well as those he inspired through his life's work.

"Sir Bob was a firm believer that imagination was the key to a successful career in medical research."

"He dedicated over 60 years of his life to improving the quality of life for our littlest people and was extremely proud of the impact he made on our most vulnerable children.

"Sir Bob's legacy will continue to shine through Cure Kids' work. He took great pride in knowing Cure Kids would continue to fund top-grade research for children's health long after he was, in his own words, 'pushing up daisies'. Cure Kids will continue to hold this precious mantle in our hands," she said. 

Reflecting with the Cure Kids team recently, Sir Bob said: "My best achievement lies in founding with Ron Caughey and Rotary the charity now known as Cure Kids, which is a vibrant organisation, bringing health and vitality to children both in New Zealand and around the world, and I'm very, very proud of that."