Remembering Ton Hagenbeek

T Hagenbeek


The EHA community has received sad news that Ton Hagenbeek has passed away. Ton was 73.

In his professional life, Ton greatly advanced his field of expertise, immune gene therapy of hematological malignancies (leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma). He obtained his PhD in Rotterdam in 1977, “Extracorporeal irradiation of the blood in a rat leukaemia model”, under the guidance of his promoter, Prof dr DW van Bekkum. Ton held positions at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, and the Amsterdam University Medical Center, the Netherlands. He became Professor in 1997, and emeritus Professor in 2013.

From the founding of EHA in the early 1990s, Ton was an active member, and established long-time friendships with founding members Bob Löwenberg, John Goldman, Laurent Degos and Dieter Hoelzer. His life touched many other EHA members and colleagues in the field.

He has fulfilled various roles within EHA, including an esteemed EHA Board position, Congress President in Amsterdam 2006, member and chair of the Communication Committee, and faculty and committee member for the Outreach Program, traveling around the world for tutorials. He was instrumental in setting up Clinical Research Training in Hematology, and remained actively involved for years, serving as a source of inspiration for many alumni. He was the driving force for “Fresh Blood: Celebrating twenty-five years of the European Hematology Association”, the EHA history compendium, published in 2015.

Ton was press liaison for many years, moderating press briefings at physical congresses. He was much appreciated by returning media representatives, and set the mark for moderators. Always well prepared with abstracts printed (and read), Ton notoriously labelled and highlighted sections and deftly handled proceedings.

Ton was a pioneering member of EHA’s European Affairs Committee, established in 2010. He would remain a strong voice for patient engagement on access issues. It was his strong conviction that pricing of medicines should not be left only to pharmaceutical companies, but required policymaking and coordination at the European level. As chair of EHA’s Task Force on Fair Pricing, he advocated in particular for making market access conditional on not only safety and efficacy, but also affordability and availability. The goal was, and is, to ensure that medical innovation becomes available for patients across Europe. Ton Hagenbeek rotated off the European Affairs Committee in October 2020, just after the publication of the new EHA position paper on Fair Pricing of Innovative Medicines in HemaSphere, of which he was the lead author.

He had been greatly looking forward to chairing a session on pricing at the EHA2021 Virtual Congress. His presence and influence will be greatly missed.

A vibrant, charming personality with a special love for his family, roller coasters (yes, roller coasters), soccer and a good glass of wine, Ton was always easy to spot in a group of people. With his remarkably deep voice and laughter, Ton stood out in a crowd.

He will be dearly missed.


On behalf of the EHA Board,

John Gribben
EHA President


“Ton Hagenbeek was a great ambassador for patient engagement within the clinical community. He worked hard to strengthen the collaboration between healthcare professionals and patient community through EHA’s European Affairs Committee, EHA’s Patient Organizations Workgroup and HemaSphere. His determination to spotlight challenging topics such as pricing and access, to suggest solutions and to develop consensus was outstanding, while never losing his good sense of humor even if discussions got tough. The patient community will miss Ton as a top expert, a passionate collaborator and a dear friend.”

– Jan Geissler, co-founder of the CML Advocates Network, member of the EHA Patient Organizations Workgroup and former member of the EHA European Affairs Committee.

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EHA SWG “Quality of Life and Symptoms”


Remembering Professor Anton Hagenbeek: the EHA SWG “Quality of Life and Symptoms” perspective

Professor Anton Hagenbeek will be remembered by everyone involved in the activities of the EHA SWG “Quality of Life and Symptoms” as a passionate doctor, an exceptionally thoughtful and highly impactful scientist, a treasured colleague, and an empowering mentor.

On behalf of the members of the EHA SWG “Quality of Life and Symptoms” and its Board we would like to use this opportunity to honor the valuable contributions of Professor Anton Hagenbeek to the activities of the Group. Anton Hagenbeek contributed substantially to the creation of the EHA SWG “Quality of Life and Symptoms”, which was formed in 2006 within the European Hematology Association and was an outstanding member of the Board since its origin. His boundless enthusiasm and commitment have helped our Group to drive new innovations in patient-reported outcomes in hematology. He inspired a number of important Group initiatives. Being the world leader in the field of hematology Ton was successful at uniting hematologists, specialists in PRO research, and representatives of Patient Organizations in Europe and elsewhere to develop several projects undertaken by the EHA SWG “Quality of Life and Symptoms”.

Being a physician, a scientist, and a patient himself, he had a deep understanding of the genuine patient needs and made serious efforts to improve the many aspects of their lives. Ton was a real ambassador for patient engagement in the activities of our Group and EHA in general. He was successful in strengthening the collaboration between healthcare professionals and the greater patient community. His dedication, expertise, and generosity with his time was always greatly appreciated by all of us.

The most significant project of the EHA SWG “Quality of Life and Symptoms”, supported by Ton, was the development and production of the Guidelines on patient-reported outcomes in hematology. This project was highly appreciated by the EHA and at present the new evidence-based Guidelines on patient-reported outcomes measurement in hematology are being developed. We are really very sorry that this new initiative will not be benefiting from Ton’s expertise and invaluable guidance.

Ton Hagenbeek was a remarkably great man. The warmth of his personality, always shared with his broad smile and gregarious laughter, extended to his unique style.

He will be greatly missed, but his influence on our activities will be everlasting.

Elizabeth Macintyre


I've known Ton for many years and in many capacities. First through Lymphoma but most recently while we served together in the European Affairs Committee and co-chaired the EHA Press sessions. His personal blend of determination, frankness mixed with warmth and good humour and longstanding devotion to Hematology make him stand out as one of the pillars of EHA. We will miss him dearly.

Robert Marcus


So very sorry to hear of the recent death of Ton Hagenbeek, a truly splendid man and an inspiration to many .
I shall be ever grateful to him for his support and help in establishing a number of critical trials in CLL and Follicular Lymphoma, his strong character and leadership skills set a marvellous example, and his ability to chair and direct meetings and advisory boards unsurpassed. He was great company too and will be greatly missed by all who encountered him. Sincere condolences to his family, he will live long in our memories.

Ghislaine van Thiel


Ton was a wonderful person. I had the privilege of working with him at the UMC Utrecht and later in the CRTH course. We had many conversations in which he showed a perfect balance between his academic interests and true care for his patients. He added wonderful and funny stories and it was always a great pleasure to be around him. Above all, his family was his priority. He spoke so proud and loving of them. I will honor his memory. Rest in peace, dear Ton.

Tatyana Ionova, St Petersburg


I had a pleasure, privilege and honour to interact with Prof. Ton Hagenbeek for many years. We first met at Lugano meeting in 1996 and since that time became very close both professionally and personally. Every meeting with Ton was a pleasure, every talk with him was inspiring. Ton was one of my few beloved friends and it is a great personal loss for me. One of Ton's favourite cities is St Petersburg, my native town. We have had great hematological conferences in St Petersburg chaired by Ton. They were always of high quality due to Ton's support and participation. We also spent great leisure time in St. Petersburg . I'll never forget these wonderful moments in my life spent with Ton.
May you rest in peace, Ton. You are in my heart forever.

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