Jean-Philippe Collet, Thrombosis Expert and Trialist, Dies at 59

(UPDATED) Friends and colleagues responded with shock and anguish to news of Collet’s sudden passing last Friday.

Jean-Philippe Collet, Thrombosis Expert and Trialist, Dies at 59

Jean-Philippe Collet, MD, PhD (Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France), an interventionalist and well-respected authority on antithrombotic therapies, died suddenly at home on December 15, 2023, at age 59. News of his death was confirmed by colleagues and his institution.

Well known for his leadership in co-chairing the 2020 European Society of Cardiology guidelines for non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes as well as conducting prominent research on antithrombotics—including the ATLANTIS and ARCTIC trials—Collet will be remembered for his genuine care for patients and colleagues alike, modest yet effective demeanor, and passion for the field of cardiology.

“Professor Collet was more than a colleague; he was a friend, a confidant and a role model to all those lucky enough to work alongside him,” his colleague and mentor Gilles Montalescot, MD, PhD (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France), wrote in an email that was circulated throughout their institution. “His colleagues, his students, his patients and all those who had the chance to know him mourn the loss of an exceptional man, of rare intelligence and humanity, who devoted his life to cardiology.”

To TCTMD, Montalescot reminisced about how their careers intertwined. “He was my first buddy in cardiology 30 years ago and we started building this group that we have here,” he said. “Now it's a big group of cardiologists and a big network of cardiology centers, but we built that network together, Jean-Philippe and myself. We were the two pioneers, and one has disappeared.”

Accomplished Yet Humble

Several themes emerged from Collet’s colleagues, who remember him for reaching unusual levels of achievement while remaining steadfastly kind and modest.

“I am so devastated,” P. Gabriel Steg, MD (Hôpital Bichat, Paris, France), told TCTMD. “He was a long-standing friend and colleague, warm, generous, hardworking, brilliant yet humble, highly respected by colleagues and staff, and loved by patients and families.”

Calling Collet a friend first, Pierre Sabouret, MD (Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France), told TCTMD that his kindness stood out over the more than 20 years they knew each other. “I want to underline that before being an international expert, he was a gentleman,” he said.

Remembering Collet as both accomplished and unpretentious, Davide Capodanno, MD, PhD (University of Catania, Italy), told TCTMD that his loss will “leave a gap” in the field of cardiology. “What really impressed me was that he was famous, but at the same time, always a person that came to you trying to have a conversation,” he said. “It was very easy to speak with him. And when you realize how famous he was and how friendly he was, this approach tells you how great he was as a man.”

Thomas Cuisset, MD, PhD (CHU Timone, Marseille, France), too, said Collet’s attitude was special. “Jean-Philippe was unique in the way that he made possible what many think contradictory; being one of the most famous French cardiologists, head of [his department], chair of ESC guidelines, but also a truly passionate clinician, dedicated to education, and always so friendly and supportive for the younger generation,” he told TCTMD in an email. “I had the privilege to work with him, and all this inspiration will stay [with me] forever.”

Sunil Rao, MD (NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY), who also took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his condolences, called Collet "a powerful force in cardiology."

"Not only was he on the cutting edge of science, but he was also a gentleman and very approachable," Rao told TCTMD. "He will be greatly missed, but his legacy lives on in his contributions to the field, which will never be forgotten."

Eric Van Belle, MD, PhD (CHU Lille, France), a frequent research partner most recently on ATLANTIS, called Collet a trailblazer and his death a “major” loss. “We were following his path,” he said. “Most of us were trying to be as good as he was, which was difficult to do. He was a very good example for all of us. He pushed us in a good direction by inspiring us.”

Holger Thiele, MD (Heart Center Leipzig at University of Leipzig, Germany), who served as co-author of the 2020 ESC guidelines, told TCTMD Collet was suited to the job “because he knew everything about all the evidence, in particular on antiplatelet therapy, and he was always extremely concise.”

Outside of his work, Thiele added, Collet loved to be athletic—the pair would often run together—and he enjoyed riding his motorcycle, which he would take on multiday trips to places like Rome and Barcelona for ESC Congresses.

Training and Leadership

Collet trained in cardiology at Université Paris XII and earned his PhD in thrombosis at the University of Rouen, France. Since 2022, Collet served as head of the department of cardiology at his institution, where he also served as director of the cath lab.

John Weisel, PhD (Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia), who mentored Collet as a PhD candidate as well as a postdoctoral fellow, remembered him as “very low key but enthusiastic and glad to try to do things.” Weisel told TCTMD: “He was probably my most productive postdoctoral fellow in the sense that I think in that 1 year he eventually got 13 papers out of the work he did.”

What was unique about Collet was that he combined clinical expertise with basic science to improve patient care, Weisel continued, adding that he “also really paid attention to people.”

Montalescot called Collet’s natural leadership skills “indisputable.” He “transformed the cardiology department into a place of excellence and innovation, where each member of the team was encouraged to reach their full potential,” Montalescot continued, noting Collet’s “charisma and ability to inspire” as well as his kindness. “Always approachable and modest, he was generous, attentive and loved by all his colleagues. We will always remember his kind smile, his availability and his willingness to share his knowledge.”

Sabouret agreed, saying, “I hope that [Collet’s team] will follow his model in terms of research but also in terms of attitude.”

Collet was also a professor of cardiology at Sorbonne Université and a founding and senior member of the academic research organization ACTION. His research interests were many, including finding new models for experimental thrombosis, demonstrating the prognostic role of biomarkers, and comparing antithrombotic therapies.

Throughout his career, Collet published almost 500 articles as well as 45 book chapters and 200 abstracts. One of his early works was lauded for playing an important role in the discovery of the clopidogrel resistance polymorphism.

A member of many organizations, including the French Society of Cardiology, European Society of Cardiology, Working Group 18, and European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions, Collet also served as an associate editor of JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions since 2018.

Collet is survived by his wife, Hélène, and their children, Antoine, Alexis, and Olivier.