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Patients in disbelief over VA surgeon's death

Many people who knew John Marshall said he changed their lives through his surgical work.

SPOKANE, Wash. – The discovery of a missing Spokane VA Medical Center surgeon’s body has left many in disbelief.

Many people who knew John Marshall said he changed their lives through his surgical work. Staff members at the VA even organized a search party for him Monday along the Centennial Trail.

According to officials, around 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, they got a call of a body in the water on the north bank of Spokane River west of Monroe Street Bridge. Interim Spokane Police Chief Rick Dobrow confirmed preliminary investigations show the body was Marshall.

"His character being a marine and an army veteran, he carried himself with dignity. He was a good man, a good father, and we're just sad today," said Frank Paulsen of VA Surgery Services.

READ: Missing VA surgeon's body pulled from Spokane River

VA staff members said patients and veterans paid visits to the surgical center all day today to express their condolences. Former patients even reached out to KREM 2 to tell us how his friendly bedside manner made him stand-out among other surgeons.

"He was just a really nice guy. Down to Earth and talked to me like a person, professional and I liked him a lot. Like I said, I'm speechless. I just, I don't know," said one of Miler’s form patients, Mike Miller.

Marshall started working at the VA Medical Center five years ago. Officials at the VA said they do not know of any patient or staff member who disliked him. Marshall was not only a U.S. Army combat veteran, he was also a veteran of the Marine Corps.

He also served as an Army doctor before becoming the acting Chief of Surgery at the VA. The 49-year old was also known to regularly spend time exercising.

He is survived by his two kids and his wife Suzan.