(CNN)Dr. Francis Robicsek, who died Friday at the age of 94, was known to his Charlotte, North Carolina, community as a hero, saving many lives during his long career as a heart surgeon.
So instead of being buried in a traditional suit, the late doctor will be put to rest on Monday wearing the clothes that made him the hero that he was: his scrubs.
According to The Charlotte Observer, the acclaimed surgeon requested to be buried in scrubs, considered the uniform of doctors everywhere.
"That's how he saw himself," Dr. Geoffrey Rose, president of Sanger Heart & Vascular institute, told CNN. "In scrubs, there to serve patients."
Robicsek, born Ferenc Robicsek in Hungary in 1925, was a pioneer in the operating room. He was one of the first doctors in Charlotte to perform heart bypass operations in the 1950s, and he helped perform Charlotte's first heart transplant in 1986, according to the Observer.
He founded the Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and performed more than 35,000 surgeries until he retired in 1998.
"Everybody (in Charlotte) knew Dr. Robicsek and everybody had a story about how he had either operated on one of their family members or neighbors," Rose, who knew Robicsek for nearly 25 years, said.
If there was one word that could describe Robicsek, it would be innovation, because of the numerous surgical instruments and procedures he patented to make surgeries go smoother, Rose said.
Back in 1957, Robicsek and his fellow surgeons, Dr. Paul Sanger and Dr. Fred Taylor, were set to perform the city's first open-heart operations, Rose said. They needed a heart-lung machine, which essentially does the work of both the heart and lungs by pumping and oxygenating blood.
With barely any heart-lung machines in the US, Robicsek traveled to the Cleveland Clinic to see the one that was being used there. He came back to Charlotte and with the help of a friend who was an engineer, they built their own heart-lung machine in the friend's garage.
For years, Robicsek loaded up that machine on the back of a pickup truck and transported it between hospitals to do heart surgery.
People also remember Robicsek for his generous heart and caring demeanor when interacting with his patients.
During the days of segregation in the US, African American patients in Charlotte had to be treated at a separate hospital called the Good Samaritan Hospital, according to the Observer.
But Robicsek wasn't able to perform heart surgeries there so he instead arranged for black patients to be admitted to a tuberculosis hospital even though they didn't have the disease. He would then perform their heart surgeries there, Rose said.