Mel Levine left suicide note

ORANGE COUNTY The nationally renowned pediatrician -- known for his work with struggling school children -- was found dead in his Rougemont home one day after a lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts on behalf of dozens of his former patients.

He was once a renowned doctor at Boston Hospital and co-founder of a research clinic at UNC - even appearing on Oprah. But Levine's accomplishments were overshadowed when sexual abuse allegations surfaced - claims he'd performed unnecessary genital exams on dozens of patients.

Levine has lived in Rougemont since giving up his medical license.

Orange County Emergency Services says there was no ambulance dispatched to Levine's Rougemont home the day of his death. The matter was solely handled by the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office would not comment about his mysterious death Monday, but his family attorney did issue a statement.

    This entire episode has been a tragedy.

    Throughout it, Dr. Levine never wavered that his care and treatment of all children was appropriate in all respects, and he steadfastly denied the allegations against him.

    Dr. Levine's groundbreaking contributions to the field of developmental behavioral pediatrics will continue to benefit children worldwide.

"For many of those people, he may have also helped them," attorney Elizabeth Kuniholm said. "But, what he did to them has left them with a lifetime - in some cases - devastation and that is the reality."

Kuniholm represents about a dozen of Levine's former patients in North Carolina. Three years ago, they took their claims the state medical board, forcing Levine to give up his medical license.

Unlike Levine's former patients in Massachusetts, they cannot sue his estate in the wake of his death.

"In NC, the statute of limitations is very different than it is in Massachusetts," Kuniholm said. "It is not as forgiving as it is in MA in situations like this where someone may have suffered abuse and molestation as a child."

Levin's funeral will be held on Wednesday in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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