The man who looked after the health of the mainland's paramount leaders for years, Dr Wu Jieping, died in Beijing on Wednesday night at the age of 94. Wu was one of first urologists on the mainland, establishing an independent department at Beijing's Zhonghe Hospital in 1946 by setting aside three beds for urology patients. He treated top leaders, including premier Zhou Enlai, for more than two decades. In the 1960s he played a leading role in the mainland's 'medical diplomacy', with Zhou sending him on 11 visits to treat foreign leaders like Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh and Indonesia's Sukarno. Wu was chairman of one of the mainland's eight so-called democratic parties, the Jiu San (September 3rd) Society, from 1992 to 2002. He was also a vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee from 1993 to 2003. Born in January 1917 in Changzhou, Jiangsu , Wu chose to study medicine after his father said that an intellectual should strive to be either a good prime minister or an excellent doctor. About 30 members of Wu's family ended up working in the medical field. Wu earned his PhD in 1942 from the Peking Union Medical College, a world-class medical school at the time. He then worked at the Zhonghe Hospital before heading off to further his skills in urology at the University of Chicago in 1947. In the United States he was instructed by Professor Charles Brenton Huggins, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1966. According to the book Outstanding Footprint, Magnificent Life - Wu Jieping, published by the People's Health Press, Huggins was impressed by Wu's quick and precise operating skills and asked him to remain in the US and work with him. However, Wu returned to China in 1948, saying he wasn't interested in becoming a Chinese American and wanted to contribute to his own country. In the 1950s, Wu found that some patients with tuberculosis in one kidney might not have it in their other kidney, saving many patients from routine surgery on both kidneys. 'Wu's discovery meant that patients did not necessarily have to have two operations and it was a tremendous benefit for many patients,' said Dr Jin Jie from the Institute of Urology at Peking University. Wu was also the first person on the mainland to carry out kidney transplant surgery. From 1968, he was the head of the medical team treating top Communist leaders. Zhou once told Deng Xiaoping to consult the 'Wu brothers' - Wu Jieping and his three brothers, all leading doctors - about any health problems. Jin said he was moved by Wu's perseverance. Even when he was in his 80s Wu would visit the urology ward. 'Before each of his visits, the doctors, especially junior doctors, felt nervous because Wu was so detail-oriented and we would sometimes be stuck by his questions,' Jin said. Wu is survived by his second wife, two daughters and a son.