Dr. Zinn, who had a history of heart issues, was pronounced dead Friday at Michigan Medical Center.
He was 85.
Dr. John Zinn was found unresponsive in his office at Michigan State University, where he was a professor of cardiology.
He died in the hospital from a massive heart attack.
John G. Zinc and John F. Zink, who are also professors at Michigan, have been on faculty since 1974.
The university has no other records of Zinn’s death.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara; his sons, Kevin and Peter; and his daughter, Barbara and their son, Steve.
“Dr. Zuck’s work in the cardiac unit is truly exceptional,” Michigan State spokesman Dave DeWalt said in a statement.
“He devoted his life to caring for the heart and the heart of his patients, his students, and our community.
He will be greatly missed by all.”
Zinn worked in heart transplantation and other fields.
He received the George H.W. Bush Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2001 and the John F .
Kennedy Presidential Medal for Distinguished Service in Intelligence.
In 2000, Zinn received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Distinction in Teaching for his teaching of cardiac electrophysiology.
In 2011, he was awarded the John J. McClain Award in Distinguished Teaching for Teaching, a lifetime achievement award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. David Zinn,” Michigan Medical Director of Heart and Rehabilitation Dr. Joseph F. Vinson said in the statement.
Zillner was the first cardiac surgeon to treat an adult patient in the United States with a type of cardiac defect.
His work, in both the operating room and intensive care, was groundbreaking, Vinson added.
“As a practicing cardiologist and surgeon, Dr. Vittner’s work has been instrumental in advancing our understanding of the heart,” he said.
“The results of his research have helped make the hearts of countless patients a lot better and healthier.”
The Zinn family, which includes a son, Peter, and two daughters, Barbara, 61, and Barbara, 47, said in an e-mail that they were deeply saddened and that they would offer prayers to the family.
The hospital did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
The Zincs were first recognized as an elite medical and scientific team in the 1970s when they performed the first heart transplant in the U.S. Znini was the medical director of the Heart Institute of America, a group that specialized in cardiac transplantation.
Zinds research focused on cardiomyopathy and cardiovascular disease, which are the causes of many deaths.
He had worked at the Heart Hospital in New York City since 1971, the year he became a professor.
In 1980, he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
He later earned a master’s degree in cardiovascular surgery and a doctorate in cardiovascular medicine at the University at Buffalo, where his research focused primarily on cardiology and cardiography.
“I have loved heart transplant since the day I was born, and I am so saddened to have lost Dr. Stephen Zinn in this way,” he wrote in a blog post.
“Stephen and I were honored to have served in his research group at Penn in the early 1970s, and in our years of service together, I have always felt a special kinship with him.
We have worked together in the heart transplant program and have seen many great successes.”
Zind’s wife, Marjorie, died in 2012.
She was 89.
She and their daughter, Nancy, founded the family business, Zind & Associates, and worked for years in the medical field.
The company was dissolved in February 2017.