NEW YORK (Reuters) – World famous diet doctor Robert Atkins, advocate of a popular but controversial high protein, low carbohydrate diet, died on Thursday, his spokesman said.
Spokesman Richard Rothstein said Atkins, 72, died at 11:01 a.m. EDT in the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, where he was admitted on April 8 after falling and hitting his head on an icy sidewalk.
Atkins underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain but went into a coma and died more than a week later from complications, Rothstein said.
Atkins developed the “Atkins Diet” — now referred to as “the Atkins Nutritional Approach” — that blames carbohydrates, a major energy source, for weight gain. The program has been criticized by the medical establishment as risking disease, but several recent studies have shown that the diet can help people lose weight without damaging their health.
He first published, “Diet Revolution” in 1972, which was updated twice and hit the best-seller lists despite the criticism. His latest book, “Atkins for Life,” was published this year.
“The cause of death was related to head trauma from an accident that occurred while Dr. Atkins was on his way to work,” Rothstein said in a statement.
Atkins fell on his way to work at the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in Manhattan during an unusual spring snowstorm that hit the New York region on April 7.
In addition to his wife, Veronica, Dr. Atkins is survived by his mother, Norma Atkins.