American Nobel laureate for chemistry Richard Heck, who designed a method of building complex molecules that has helped fight cancer, protect crops and make electronic devices, has been buried in a metropolitan Manila cemetery beside the tomb of his Filipino wife. He was 84.

Heck was buried Tuesday as family members and fellow scientists paid tribute to his humility and simplicity despite his achievements. His nephew-in-law says the professor emeritus at the University of Delaware died Saturday due to multiple organ failure after bouts with pneumonia, diabetes and liver cirrhosis.

Heck, whose interest in plants as a child led him to a career in chemistry, shared the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2010. He retired to the Philippines with his wife Socorro, who died in 2012.