Aug 17, 2010 9:29 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Doctor, former councilman commits suicide

A highly respected and well-connected member of the Colorado Springs community has ended his own life. Dr. Ted Eastburn's body was discovered at 7:45 Tuesday morning in his office at Memorial Hospital.  Eastburn was a former city councilman, cardiologist, faculty member at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and cyclist.

Dr. Eastburn's office was at Pikes Peak Cardiology, a private doctor's office located on the 7th floor of the hospital's East Tower.

Memorial Hospital released a statement Tuesday afternoon on behalf of Dr. Eastburn's family:

"Dr. Ted Eastburn was born on Feb. 7, 1954, in Columbus, Mississippi, and he grew up in Fort Worth, TX, and Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Eastburn graduated from Rhodes College, where he was President of the Honor Council and Senior Class President. Dr. Eastburn graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1980. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Tripler Army Medical Center, in Honolulu, HI. He served in the U.S. Army from 1980 - 1984.

Dr. Eastburn returned to Vanderbilt for an academic fellowship in cardiology, where he served alongside Dr. William Frist, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, setting up one of the first heart transplant programs in the country.

Dr. Eastburn joined Pikes Peak Cardiology in Colorado Springs in 1991 and became a senior partner. He served as City Councilman for the City of Colorado Springs from 1999 - 2003, and ran for mayor at the end of his term.

Dr. Eastburn was an avid bicyclist who toured the western region and parts of Europe whenever he had a chance. He loved Colorado Springs and contributed his time, energy, and expertise to causes like Peak Vista (clinics for the under served and uninsured).

His life ended tragically this morning, August 17, 2010. Services will be announced at a later date."

Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera spoke with News First 5 Tuesday afternoon.

"He was always looking for ways to help our community. He had a big heart, and that's what I remember most about him," says Rivera. "Over the years, I called him many times, just to talk about what was going on at city council... He was always a good ear to listen because he had the experience, he had the temperament to give good advice. I'll miss him."

Rivera remembers Eastburn convinced city councilmembers to take money out of the city reserves to put defibrillators in place at all city facilities.  It's a program that remains in tact today, taken over by American Medical Response.

Rivera also released this statement:

"My wife Lynn and I and my City Council colleagues extend our sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Ted Eastburn. He was a true friend and we are deeply saddened by his passing. Ted was dedicated to our community and his life deserves to be honored for his service to his patients, Memorial Health System, and our city. It was an honor to serve with him for four years on city council. As a council member Ted always cared for and worked to support our employees and the citizens who elected him to office. We will miss him."

Richard Skorman went through orientation with Eastburn, when they started city council together.

"He'll be so missed in this community. Personally, politically, and for everything he was going to do in the future for people," remarks Skorman.

Sallie Clark says she remembers how approachable he was as a councilmember and as a person, but she also remembers the little things.

"I remember we'd always make fun of his Birkenstocks," laughs Clark. "Most of all, I think, Ted's smile and his complete devotion to people and community."

The Pikes Peak Cardiology office will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, August 17 and 18; it will reopen on Thursday morning, Aug. 19. However, scheduled procedures will be conducted as planned on Wednesday, Aug.18.

All scheduled procedures will be managed by Dr. Eastburn's colleagues.


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