Remembering ‘meteor of a man’ Dr. Hector Lopez
Hector Lopez, MD, (or "Hec" to his friends) started off as a medical doctor, later finding his true calling in the dietary supplement industry.
Known for applying his diverse background in sports & human performance medicine, regenerative & longevity medicine, Lopez was a prolific researcher and formulator.
As tributes poured in following his untimely death, many credit Lopez with moving the needle in sports nutrition and medicine. Among them, Susan Kleiner, PhD, of High Performance Nutrition, who recalled meeting Lopez over 15 years ago in the early days of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
“We were all pioneering in a new field, but Hector, as an MD, was really walking out on a professional limb. He didn’t just acknowledge the role that nutrition might play in health, performance, pain, and healing–he was insistent about it and would set out to prove it, despite tremendous push back and even peril from his own medical discipline.”
Lopez’s trailblazing work also stood out to Douglas Kalman, PhD, head of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Natural Products Association: “Hector, a physician who was so interested in the nutritional sciences, trained in the physiological sciences too. How many docs do you know who were also certified in the areas of nutrition and physiology? Hector could make the most complex issue easy to understand, while also being a kind person.”
“Hector devoted himself to the supplement world and became the tour de force that we all know and love, and who has changed the industry,” said Steve Schmitz of Supplement Safety Solutions.
A brilliant, yet modest man and ‘massive connector of people’
Often described as the ‘smartest person in the room,’ Schmitz asked, “Who needs PubMed when Hector is around?”
“Hector was a loving husband and father, a brilliant physician-scientist who modestly shared his profound and even freakish wisdom, a multi-faceted entrepreneur and mentor, a supportive colleague and friend, and a massive connector of people. The number and type of people who are mourning his death are a testament to the network of colleagues he brought together and who will continue to work together in the future,” said Schmitz. “He referred to me as ‘My man’ and I referred to him as ‘My man.’ It’s how we started every text and phone call.”
Duffy Mackay of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association noted that Lopez stood out in a class of his own. “His accomplishments in science, medicine and business improved countless lives. He did it all– research, publish, practice, formulate and walk the walk. You could call Hector at 3 a.m. and he would help you with a patient or family member. I hope that everyone that Hector touched in their lives can help carry forward the brilliant, kind, authentic and family-oriented spirit that Hector shared so freely.”
Compound Solution’s Matt Titlow, fondly recalled dining with Lopez and his affinity for sweet treats. “You arrived late to everything, but I somehow found it endearing. Whether it was a Blizzard or a cookie, I’ll forever laugh at your daughters busting you for your late night assaults on the cookies. You were my 2 a.m. work buddy, and I’ll miss you late at night, my friend. You were relentless like nothing I’d ever seen. You were a mentor, a peer and profoundly meaningful friend. Thank you.”
As Rob Wildman, PhD, Demeter Consultants, pointed out, it's easy to begin to describe Lopez based on his intelligence and scientific and professional knowledge. “Simply, Hector's brilliance always made him the true smartest person in the room. The challenge becomes much more difficult, and emotional to describe him personally, as a human. Hector was so unique, almost unhuman in his completely genuine nature and how much he cared about others and his passion for friendship and fellowship. Hector was always the person you wanted to be with, and no matter how much time you were with him, it wasn't enough. This is now true of his life.”
If Lopez was aware he was the smartest person in the room, you wouldn’t know it.
“In an age where most people measure their impact on society by the number of likes on a social media post, Hec didn’t even participate in it. He didn’t care about taking credit, only the end result of the collaboration. He didn’t live life for himself, nor care to shout out loud how great he was. Rather, he lived and breathed for his family, and for the science behind our industry for everyone else. He epitomized the words Husband, Father, Friend, Mentor, Teacher and Role Model,” recalled David Sandler, Lopez’s friend and business partner. “He always found a way to take the time to help anyone and everyone with all things medicine, nutrition, health and supplements. Hector was truly a gift, not just to our industry but to our way of life.”
Rick Collins, Esq., of Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC, noted that while Lopez had every right to situate himself at the top of the totem pole, he never did. “He exuded humility of the most authentic type. And perhaps most importantly of all, he was one of the kindest, most empathetic souls on earth. They say the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Hector Lopez blazed so very, very brightly. Hector, you achieved so much, did so much good in this world in such a short span.”
“The loss of Dr. Hector Lopez leaves a hole in the fabric that wraps a community of family, friends, colleagues, and even acquaintances,” said Kleiner.
And while this untimely loss has indeed left a gaping hole, all who knew Lopez expressed gratitude that he was a part of their lives.
“Hector is a person you got excited to run into at conferences to catch up on innovation, his latest studies and disrupting ideas, and more importantly, to catch up on life and have a good laugh. He made an impact on me, and everyone he met,” reflected Increnovo’s Ralf Jager. “I am shocked and saddened by his passing, but beyond grateful that our paths have crossed.”
“I prefer that every Thanksgiving, we think about how thankful we are to have had this meteor of a man pass through our lives and unselfishly share his brilliant light,” said Schmitz.