Our mentor, our king, our hero - doctor pays tribute to Palmer

Arnold Palmer's impact away from the world of sport has been hailed by a long-serving doctor at one of the hospitals the late golfer helped to establish.

Palmer, who died on Sunday at the age of 87, is an undoubted golfing great, having claimed seven major titles among his many successes on the course.

Yet his passing has also prompted many to reflect on the American's significant contribution in other areas, including the creation of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center (APMC).

Dr Gregor Alexander - a leading neonatologist at The Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, a part of APMC that carries the name of Arnold's first wife - paid an emotional tribute in an interview with Golf Channel.

"We estimate that more than 40,000 babies have been cared [for] at the neonatal unit and probably millions of children and high-risk women have been cared for at our facility. None of that could have been possible without Arnold Palmer, Winnie Palmer and the entire family and all the doors that he opened for us," said Alexander.

"When he came to visit our facility, he was like the biggest celebrity and the biggest impact we could have. He would talk to every single person, no matter what position they had in the hospital. He would talk to the families, he gave them encouragement.

"And he told us that he wanted to build a facility that would not only render extraordinary medical care, but deliver that with tremendous heart and tremendous compassion. He wanted for us to build the best children's hospital in the country, if not in the world, and we became the largest neonatal unit in the country under his support, under his mentorship.

"We have lost our mentor, our king, our hero. But we believe that his legacy will stay with us for generations to come. He ignited the torch of excellence of care for our children, babies and high-risk mothers and I know that torch will be carried for generations to come.

"We are so proud of the association that we have with him, with Winnie and the entire family. I think for decades and centuries, Mr Palmer will be remembered as one of the greatest human beings that has touched this earth."

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