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Nobel physician Ralph Steinman died just a few days before being selected for the Nobel prize in medicine. His wife and daughter ponder on the bittersweet circumstance of his death.
A scientist who won the Nobel prize for medicine on Monday used his own discoveries to treat himself for cancer.
But the disease claimed his life just days before he could be told of the award.
Calling it "bittersweet" news, the family of Canadian-born Ralph Steinman of New York's Rockefeller University said he had prolonged his own life with a new therapy based on his prize-winning research into the body's immune system.
But the 68-year-old physician, who joked last week with his family about hanging on until the annual prize announcement, died on Friday after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
He never knew his life's work had been crowned with the highest accolade science can bestow.
His wife Claudia described how she felt at his death just a few days before winning the Nobel prize.
Alexis, Steinman's daughter, said her father was very humble about awards but that with the Nobel "he might have really jumped in the air".
Calling it a "unique" situation, Sweden's Nobel Committee initially said it was still considering how to reconcile the announcement with its policy of not making posthumous awards.
The committee said it learned of Steinman's death two hours after declaring to the world that he would share the $1.5 million dollar (USD) annual prize with American Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffman from France.
The Committee eventually decided to let Steinman keep the award.
Steinman's research contributed to the launch last year of the first vaccine which is designed to kill tumors.