John Forbes Nash Jr., the Princeton University mathematician whose life inspired the film “A Beautiful Mind,” and his wife died in a car crash Saturday , according to New Jersey State Police.
Nash, 86, and Alicia Nash, 82, were riding in a taxi near Monroe Township when the incident occurred, State Police Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Williams Said.
They were traveling southbound in the left lane when the taxi went out of control while trying to pass another car, Williams said.
The car crashed into the guard rail, and the couple was ejected from the vehicle. They were pronounced dead at the scene, Williams said
The Taxi driver, Tarek Girgis, was flown to Robert Wood Johnson hospital, being said to have non life-threatening injuries. A third passenger in the car was transported via ground to Princeton University Hospital complaining of neck pain.
Presently, no charges have been filed in the incident, which is still under investigation.
Nash, Widely regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, was known for his work in game theory, and his struggles with Paranoid Schizophrenia. His ex wife, Alicia Nash, an M.I.T physics major from aristocratic Salvadoran family, has been credited with saving his life after the ravages of schizophrenia had taken its toll, letting him into her home in 1970.
They officially divorced in 1963.
Sylvia Nasar, (the couples biographer) wrote in the 1998 book “A beautiful Mind,” “It was Nash’s genius … to choose a woman who would prove so essential to his survival.”
The 2001 Oscar-winning film “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly was called a piece of historical revisionism because of the exemption of not only that chapter of the personal life John and Alicia’s personal life, but also John’s child from another marriage, as well as his reputation of being difficult to work with. But still drew accolades for it’s depiction of mental illness while bringing attention to Nash’s accomplishments, which earned him the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics.
News of the couple’s death drew tributes from academia and Hollywood.
“We are stunned and saddened by news of the untimely passing of John Nash and his wife and great champion, Alicia. Both of them were very special members of the Princeton University community,” Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said.
“John’s remarkable achievements inspired generations of mathematicians, economists and scientists who were influenced by his brilliant, groundbreaking work in game theory, and the story of his life with Alicia moved millions of readers and moviegoers who marveled at their courage in the face of daunting challenges,” Eisgruber added.
Condolences were also expressed by Russell Crowe to the family on twitter, calling the couple an “amazing partnership” with “beautiful minds” and “beautiful hearts.”
Ron Howard also tweeted saying “RIP Brilliant #NobelPrize winning John Nash & his remarkable wife Alicia. it was an honor telling part of their story #ABeautifulMind,”
Nash was the son of an engineer and a Latin teacher, born 1928 in Bluefield, WV. a former coal town in the Appalachian Mountains. During his elementary education, he began showing signs of mathematical talent, and was one of 10 winners of the George Westinghouse Award, which got him a full scholarship to the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he first was named a genius.
He went on to receive his Ph. D. from Princeton in 1950 based on a dissertation on the fields of mathematics and economics. A year later, he went to work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met his future wife Alicia Larde, a student in his advanced calc. class.
They became a couple after spending time together in the university’s music library, where Larde worked.
In the early months of 2959, when Alicia Nash was pregnant, he began to experience what he describes as “the mental disturbances”
He then resigned at M.I.T, and spent 50 days under observation at the Mclean Hospital in Massachusetts.
He spent the next few years in and out of hospitals, “always on an involuntary basis…” During his periods of clarity, he returned to the research that built his reputation.
The couple stayed together through it all, marrying for a second time in 2001