Dr. Robert Cade, RIP

At CEI, we like to celebrate inventors, innovators, and those bold souls whose unyielding curiosity help make the world better. Such a person was Dr. Robert Cade, who passed away yesterday. His invention is one so ubiquitous that today it’s hard to think of the world without it: Gatorade. Reports The Gainesville Sun:

Cade, a former professor of nephrology at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, was something of a Renaissance man. When he wasn’t concocting the strange brew that would become the world’s best-selling sports drink, Cade was reciting the poems of Alfred Tennyson and playing the violin.

“He was a man with one of those unique minds,” said Dr. Dana Shires, who helped Cade develop Gatorade.

Cade, who had long suffered from heart and kidney disease, died at Shands at UF around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

It was Cade’s unique mind, combined with the needs of the Gator football team, that led to the creation of Gatorade and the beginnings of a multibillion dollar sports drink industry. As the now legendary story goes, the Gatorade saga began in 1965 with a seemingly silly question posed by then-assistant UF Coach Dwayne Douglas.

“Doctor,” Douglas asked, “why don’t football players wee-wee after a game?”

“That question changed our lives,” Cade told the Associated Press in 2005.

And it changed sports forever, as Dr. Cade’s invention became the favorite means to rehydrate athletes of every major major American sports league.

Of course, as a UF grad myself, I’m glad he lived long enough to see his drink put to a use he probably never envisioned — to celebrate his drink’s namesakes winning the national championship by the now-traditional Gatorade soaking of the coach. RIP