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April 11, 2013 - 4:05pm

Missing UMHS employee found dead on medical campus


Heping Zhao, a pathologist assistant at University Hospital who was reported missing Tuesday, was found dead on the medical campus Thursday, according to University Police.

Zhao’s body was found around 9 a.m. on the ground near the M15 parking structure on West Medical Center Drive. His death appears to have been caused by a fall. Zhao was 63-years-old.

UMPD spokeswoman Diane Brown said Zhao's body was discovered by a UMHS employee. Police don't believe foul play was involved.

The University Health System released a statement regarding Zhao’s death Thursday, extending its condolences to Zhao’s family and highlighting Zhao’s role in the medical school community.

“The U-M Medical School community is saddened by the death of Heping Zhao, who had been a valuable staff member in our Department of Medical Education for more than a decade, and played a key role in the education of thousands of health professionals,” the statement said.

The statement notes that Zhao was a "gifted anatomist" who, apart from working with anatomy courses, assisted in creating anatomical specimens for educational purposes.

“Dr. Zhao’s work was instrumental to the education of our medical students, and the training of countless students elsewhere,” the statement said. “He created a legacy of learning, and will be greatly missed.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized.

Story updated: This story has been updated with further information from UMPD regarding the circumstances of Zhao's death.