On May 23, he noticed an 87-year-old woman, Patty Ris, choking on a piece of food at the table she happened to be sharing with Heimlich at Duepree House, the senior residence where they both lived in Cincinnati.

Henry Heimlich, the Jewish surgeon who created the life-saving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims has died Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.

"We are deeply saddened at his passing", said Laura Lamb, the incoming chief executive of Episcopal Retirement Services.

The method, now known as the Heimlich maneuver, is said to have saved tens of thousands of lives in the United States alone. "He was very kind and caring, and was respected by all".

According to Heimlich's 2014 memoir, he still believes in the idea, though he is no longer actively pursuing it. "But he was not only a physician and medical inventor, he was also a humanitarian and a loving and devoted son, husband, father and grandfather", his family said in a statement. In 1962, years before the maneuver that bears his name, he conceived of the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, credited with saving scores of lives on the battlefields of the Vietnam War and emergency rooms across the country.

In the 1980s and 1990s he was an advocate of malaria therapy, the deliberate infection of a person with benign malaria in order to defeat diseases such as cancer, disease and AIDS, saying the high fever associated with malaria would stimulate the body's immune system.

Heimlich was born in 1920 in Wilmington, Del., and received his medical degree from Cornell Medical College in New York City in 1943.

He was married to Jane Murray, daughter of ballroom-dancing businessman Arthur Murray, who predeceased him.