From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Tools, Robert

(born: 1942  -  died: 2001) 

Robert Tools was born in Mobile, AL and lived in Franklin, KY the last five years of his life. Tools was the first human to receive the fully contained, two pound artificial heart, AbioCor, developed by Abiomed in Massachusetts.

Tools suffered from renal failure and diabetes, which made him ineligible for a heart transplant; he was given only a couple of months to live. He received his artificial heart on July 2, 2001, at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, KY. Tools survived for 151 days with his new heart. The published accounts of Tools's new heart were voted Top Story of the Year in Kentucky.

For more see the CNN story, "Heart transplant pioneer dies," 9/2/2001; "It was great...Absolutely great," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/24/2001, p. B1; Michael Romano, "That giant whirring sound you hear is either an artificial heart or Louisville's Jewish Hospital cashing in on being first," 9/10/2001, on the ModernHealthcare website; and L. K. Altman, "Man with artificial heart dies," New York Times, 12/01/2001, section A, p.10 (online).

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Simpson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Franklin, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Tools, Robert,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 1, 2022,

Last modified: 2021-07-21 16:08:39