updated 7/28/2008 7:07:19 PM ET 2008-07-28T23:07:19

A 55-year-old physician who had scaled Mount Hood was killed by falling rock that struck him on his way down, authorities said.

Dr. Gary Lee, an experienced climber, was with his son Sunday afternoon when a rock "dislodged from the ice above" and hit him at about 9,000 feet on the 11,239-foot peak, the Hood River County sheriff's office said.

He fell about 1,000 feet before coming to rest in an area of rock and ice above Eliot Glacier, the sheriff's office said.

His body was spotted Sunday evening by helicopter crews from the Oregon National Guard.

The area in which Lee died is described as vertical snow, ice and rock. Workers removed his body from the dangerously steep area Monday.

Lee was a cancer specialist who had practiced in Eugene since 1984. He had an interest in palliative (pain-relieving) care for terminally ill patients, his practice's Web site said. He was medical director of hospice at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

In December 2006, climber Kelly James of Texas died of hypothermia in the same area of the mountain. His body was found in a snow cave, but the bodies of the two other men in his party, Brian Hall of Texas and Jerry Cooke of New York, have never been found.

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