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Dr. Robert Butler, authority on aging, dies at 83

Dr. Robert Butler, a Pulitzer Prize-winning expert on aging who coined the phrase "ageism," has died, his daughter said Tuesday. He was 83.

Butler died Sunday of leukemia at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, Christine Butler said.

Butler, a gerontologist and psychiatrist, was the founding director of the National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health. He wrote several books on aging, including the 1976 Pulitzer-winning "Why Survive: Being Old in America."

Butler coined the term "ageism," or age discrimination, in 1968, and led a task force that analyzed the impact of age prejudice in a 2006 report, "Ageism in America." It addressed age discrimination in the workplace, elder abuse and the media's role in perpetrating such bias.

Butler was founding chairman of the nation's first department of geriatrics, at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. And he was founding president of the International Longevity Center-USA on East 86th Street in Manhattan, a research, policy and education center dedicated to the field of longevity and aging.

Butler was instrumental in research that established that senility was not inevitable with aging, but rather a consequence of disease, according to the longevity center website. At the time of his death, Butler was leading a committee on aging for the World Economic Forum.- AP

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