Born in Detroit on Sept. 18, 1951, African-American neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson made a number of surgical breakthroughs throughout his illustrious career.
What began as a troubled childhood where a young Carson struggled with academics soon blossomed into an impressive educational career at Yale University and University of Michigan, thanks to guidance and discipline from his single mother.
Most known for his revolutionary work on the successful separation of conjoined twins attached at the head, as well as his adroit hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills, Carson became the youngest major division director in John Hopkins history at the age of 33.
In 2008, then-President George Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the country.
The acclaimed doctor retired in March 2013 after contributing decades of irreplaceable work to his field.
"I'd much rather quit when I'm at the top of my game," he announced. "And there's so many more things that can be done."
Around the same time, Carson had also begun to speak out on political issues, garnering praise from conservatives, in particular, after a keynote speech he delivered on social issues and the government's role in the health care industry at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.
Earlier this year, he shared his views on a few key issues at the National Press Club.
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(Photo: REUTERS /JONATHAN ERNST /LANDOV)