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Dr. J. Michael Lane, who helped eradicate smallpox, dies at 84


Epidemiologist Dr. J. Michael Lane was in his 20s when he began a crusade to eradicate one of the oldest and deadliest diseases in human history: smallpox. In 1977, 13 years after he began travelling around the world to help prevent its spread, the last case was detected and the man made a full recovery. The World Health Organization declared it eradicated in 1980, the only infectious disease with that distinction. Dr. Lane died on Wednesday at age 84. Sunday TODAY’s Willie Geist remembers a life well-lived.