Northwestern University professor identified as man who plunged to his death at Hollywood hotel

11/18/2013 11:35 AM

11/18/2013 6:52 PM

Hollywood police haven’t determined the circumstances of the death of a doctor who fell through the glass ceiling of the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood early Sunday morning.

Piotr Kulesza was a 46-year-old from Chicago, Hollywood police spokesman Osvaldo Perez said. He was staying on the 23rd floor of the hotel from where he fell from the balcony. Perez said he didn’t know if the man was staying in the hotel alone.

Kulesza fell through the glass ceiling and into the lobby shortly after 12:30 a.m. He died in the hotel.

"Initial investigation does not reveal any suspected foul play," according to a Hollywood police press release. "Detectives are actively investigating this case as to whether it was an accident or intentional."

Kulesza was an associate professor in the Department of Pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He served as the director of the Pathology Core Facility of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Kulesza was attending an oncology conference for physicians at a hotel in Hollywood at the time of his death, according to a statement provided by Northwestern spokeswoman Marla Paul. The statement didn’t explain if the conference was at the Westin and the hotel’s general manager Ed Walls said in an email that he would not release that information.

According to a statement from department chair William Muller, Kulesza was a native of Warsaw, Poland, and received his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama, and his combined MD/PhD degrees at Washington University in St. Louis. He was a resident in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at Johns Hopkins, where he stayed on for a Fellowship in Cytopathology. He joined the Pathology faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2004 and was recruited back to the University of Alabama in 2006 before he was recruited to Northwestern in 2009.

“Peter was a remarkable colleague, who will be remembered for his infectious enthusiasm and energy,” Muller wrote. “He was dedicated to our academic mission, and this was evident in his interactions with colleagues, residents, fellows, and medical students. He was an ambitious researcher, who was a principle investigator on R01 grants as well as clinical trials. Peter was also a talented and conscientious cytopathologist.”

Dr. Anil Parwani, a staff pathologist in Pittsburgh who did his residency with Kulesza at Johns Hopkins Hospital, told the Miami Herald in an email that “Piotr was an amazing person, always full of energy and enthusiasm. His vibrant personality enabled him to reach across and connect with others around him.”

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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