Tony Castellvi, 61, Spine Surgeon and Research Luminary
Robin Young • Tue, February 25th, 2014
It is with a heavy heart that we pass along the news that one of the spine community’s most beloved surgeons, Antonio (Tony) Castellvi, died suddenly this past Saturday morning. The cause of death, we understand, was a pulmonary embolism.
Dr. Castellvi is survived by his wife and best friend of 38 years, the wonderful Ramona, and their three children: Ramona Little, 36, Antonio “Cheech” Castellvi, 35, and Alejandro Castellvi, 30.
During the course of his career, Antonio E. Castellvi, M.D. played a very important role in expanding the understanding of motion preservation and became one of the leading experts in the field of preservation of motion. His research in this area led to numerous publications in both Spanish and English and podium presentations at more than 50 conferences and meetings nationally and internationally.
Dr. Castellvi was an honors graduate of the University of Zaragoza Medical School in Spain and completed his orthopedic residency at the University of South Florida, his spine fellowship at the University of Rochester.
Over the course of more than 30 years, Tony built a very successful practice focusing on cervical, lumbar or thoracolumbar problems, degenerative disease and deformity, scoliosis, reconstruction, spinal cord injury and motion preservation.
Since 2005, Dr. Castellvi also served as course chair for Current Solutions in Spine Surgery in Hawks Cay, Florida—otherwise known as the “Duck Key Meeting.” Tony’s meeting was one of the highlights of the year for many researchers and practitioners. Additionally, he served as a board member of the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery and is one of 10 members to review abstracts to determine which will be presented internationally.
Tony also found time to serve as an assistant professor at the University of South Florida and Director of Spine Fellowship at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute.
But what most of us who knew him will remember best is Tony, the man. He was bigger than life, full of passion for his patients, for the science, for his colleagues and above all for his family. The world is truly diminished with Tony gone.
The funeral Mass for Antonio E Castellvi will be Wednesday at 2pm at Christ the King. The wake will be Tuesday evening at 6pm at Christ the King Catholic Church at 821 S. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa 33609 with reception to follow.
Ever since word of Tony’s passing began making the rounds, condolences and remembrances have been streaming in from everywhere.
Anyone who would like to give a gift in remembrance of the life of Antonio Castellvi is invited to donate to Christ the King Scholarship Fund (Elementary school) in Tampa Florida and to Tony’s Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education (FORE)
Here are some of comments from his friends. All are invited to pen their respects in the comment section below.
“Tony was a ‘true innovator and thought leader in spine surgery and he always managed to do so with a smile on his face and a glad hand’ My thoughts are with his family and friends.” – Tom Errico
“When I think of Tony, I think of someone larger than life; he really loved life more than just about anyone I know. He was never shy with his opinion and never afraid to challenge conventional thought. I always thought of Tony as a clinician scientist—meaning he always thought about the patient and his/her outcome from a pragmatic view, yet he grounded everything he did in data and evidence. One thing I always loved about Tony is that you always knew where you stood with him. The spine community lost a real asset on Saturday.
Thanks.” – Marc V.
“Trained by Lou Goldstein and Don Chan. Tony’s key paper was on transitional vertebra which was published in Spine 1984. He really enjoyed innovative spine technology.” – David Polly
“Tony's life was taken suddenly this past Saturday. He will be sorely missed not only as a leader in spine surgery but also as an innovator. His wonderful Duck Key meeting is one of the current great and one of my favorite spine meetings. His friendship, warm smile and laugh will remain in my memory forever. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his wife Ramona and his beautiful family.”
Richard D Guyer, MD
Texas Back Institute
“This is Terrible news!!!!!! Colleagues were drawn to Tony by his kindness and outgoing warm personality. In addition to his commitment to his patients, Tony was an innovator, involved in the development and study of a number of novel spinal technologies. He was however truly in his element during his annual course in the Keys when he was leading clinical case discussions; challenging us to think critically and at the same time applying his ample common sense to solving clinical challenges. The spine world has lost a loyal friend, teacher, strong patient advocate and an outside of the box problem-solver."
Frank M. Phillips, MD
Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery
Spine Fellowship Co-Director
Rush University Medical Center
"I am saddened to hear of Tony's passing. He made many important contributions to the spine surgery world, particularly in assessing new operative techniques for the treatment of common spinal disorders. His loss will be felt." – Chris Bono
"Tony was a wonderful husband, father, friend, physician, educator, inventor and perhaps most of all—a pleasure to spend time with. There was never a boring moment when with him. His laugh was contagious as was his enthusiasm for life with a focus on family, science and fishing. Tony will be sorely missed.” – Stephen Hochschuler
"Tony was the type of surgeon who was passionate about his belief that motion preservation is a goal for spine procedures when feasible. More importantly, he demonstrated his focus on this issue by including and not dismissing others who may have alternative methods to achieve this same goal. I have personally benefitted by Tony's friendship and his courses at Duck Key where education, recreation and camaraderie made this one of the most popular courses worldwide. Tony will be sorely missed by all of us." – Tony Yeung
“Tony is a gentle man who loved his family and his work. He is also a thrill seeker. He is both very private about himself but very open and generous to his friends. His achievement of establishing a yearly spine meeting in the Keys of Florida that attracted open dialogue on the progress of Spine Care and Surgery based on Sound Scientific grounds has become a must attend for many of us. His generous dedication of time and energy for ISASS will be much missed, but his example has already prompted many of his colleagues and friends to carry on. He will be missed by many of us, who has only fond memories of him.” – Hansen Yuan
“The spine field has suffered another great loss today; Tony was a true leader, a great teacher and wonderful doctor for his patients. He will be sorely missed but he leaves the spine field richer due to his lifetime of work.”
North American Spine Society
“Dr. Castellvi was a charming, stimulating, and a great person to be around. There are those who take energy from us in interaction and those that give us energy and inspiration. Tony gave in abundance and will be sorely missed by all.”
Chairman and CEO
OTW has been asked to provide the following links for donations/condolences/remembrances etc.
- Dr. Castellvi's obituary: http://bcmacdill.tributes.com/our_obituaries/Antonio-E.-Castellvi-99629899
- In lieu of flowers, donations can be made as follows:
FORE (Foundation for Orthopaedic Research & Education) - http://foreonline.org/Ways%20To%20Give
Christ the King Church on behalf of Tony Castellvi - http://www.ctk-tampa.org/