HOUSTON: Denton Cooley, the "Dr. Wonderful" who performed the world’s first successful artificial heart implant has died at the age of 96, the heart institute that the surgeon founded has confirmed. 

We all lost a legend today — Dr. Denton A. Cooley. Texas Heart Institute spokeswoman said that Cooley died at his home in Houston surrounded by family. 

Denton Cooley performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States in 1968. One year later, he implanted the world’s first total artificial heart. The surgeon was a leading expert in congenital heart problems in infants and children and pioneered the use of the heart-lung machine that made open-heart surgery possible. 

The son of a Houston dentist, Cooley earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was founder and surgeon-in-chief of the Texas Heart Institute.