He was the son of Apollon and the Trikkaian princess Koronis. His mother died in labour and was laid out on the pyre to be consumed, but his father rescued the child, cutting him from her womb. From this he received the name Asklepios "to cut open." The boy was raised by the kentauros (centaur) Kheiron who instructed him in the art of medicine. Asklepios grew so skilled in the craft that he was able to restore the dead to life. However, because this was a crime against the natural order, Zeus destroyed him with a thunderbolt.
After his death Asklepios was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ophiochus ("the Serpent Holder"). Some say his mother was also set in the heavens as Corvus, the crow (korônê in Greek). Asklepios' apotheosis into godhood occurred at the same time. He was sometimes identified with Homer's Paion, the physician of the gods.