A WELL-RESPECTED senior heart surgeon at University Hospital of Wales has passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Jitenra Rathod was an Associate Specialist in Cardio-thoracic Surgery at the hospital for 25 years.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the health board said: "It is with profound sadness that we must inform you that Mr. Jitendra Rathod, Associate Specialist in Cardio-thoracic Surgery at the University Hospital of Wales, has passed away.

"He died early on Monday morning on our General Intensive Care unit after testing positive for COVID-19.

"Jitu had worked in the Department of Cardio-thoracic Surgery since the mid-1990s and came back to UHW in 2006 after a brief stint abroad.

"He was an incredibly dedicated surgeon who cared deeply for his patients. He was well-liked and greatly respected by one and all.

"He was a very compassionate and a wonderful human being. His commitment to the specialty was exemplary. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

“We will miss him greatly.”

Stephen Doughty MP for Cardiff South and Penarth called Mr Rathod's passing 'hugely sad news.'

He said: "My sincere condolences to his family, and the whole team at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

" It should emphasise to us all why we must follow the advice."