SEATTLE -- Dr. Derek Christopher "McDreamy" Shepherd died on April 23, 2015, at the age of 49.
The Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital surgeon, who specialized in neurosurgery, not only lived his life as a hero but also died as one. On Derek’s final day on Earth, he saved the lives of four car crash victims with nothing but a tiny first aid kit and his medical wits. But that’s who Derek was -- he was a smart, passionate and loving doctor who strived to outsmart death every day.
Derek met his unfortunate demise following the car accident when another car slammed into his vehicle. He was rushed to a hospital but could not be saved by the doctors due to the severe bleeding in his brain. Eventually Derek was proclaimed brain-dead by the surgeons and was taken off life support.
Derek was a Bowdoin College graduate and also received his diploma from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He went on to become head of neurosurgery at the formerly named Seattle Grace Hospital. But Derek’s career only blossomed from there. He was soon awarded the title of chief of surgery (a position he later resigned following a hospital shooting) and was even hand-picked by President Barack Obama to work on a brain-mapping initiative for the commander-in-chief.
However, shortly after his Washington, D.C., stint, Derek decided to return to the West Coast to be with his family, whom he loved. Everyone who knew him also knew how much he adored them. He leaves behind a loving wife Meredith, who is also a Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital surgeon, his daughter Zola and his son Derek.
Derek and Meredith had a very special relationship. The two met while working at the hospital and their love for one another was witnessed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know them. The couple married on May 24, 2009, in an off-the-cuff wedding which involved a Post-it note:
“I want to be with you forever, and you want to be with me forever. In order to do that we need to make vows. A commitment. A contract. Give me a piece of paper,” Derek told Meredith, who only had a Post-it note to spare.
Their vows included to love each other, even when they hated each other, and never to run away from their problems. “Nobody walks out. No matter what happens,” Derek concluded his vows, which they both owned up to throughout their loving marriage.
Derek is also survived by his sisters Kathleen, Nancy, Liz and Amelia, as well as his mother Carolyn Shepherd.
Derek was a beloved husband, father, brother, son, friend and surgeon. He was a scrub-donning force to be reckoned with, and he’ll surely be missed.