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'Beautiful Mind' inspiration John Nash dies in car crash

US mathematician John Nash, who inspired the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind, dies in a car crash with his wife Alicia

25 May 2015, 1:05pm
Mathematical genius John Nash and wife Alicia have lost their lives in a tragic car crash
Mathematical genius John Nash and wife Alicia have lost their lives in a tragic car crash
Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe had played John Nash in the 2001 movie 'A Beautiful Mind'
Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe had played John Nash in the 2001 movie 'A Beautiful Mind'
US mathematician John Nash, who inspired the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind, has died in a car crash with his wife, police have said.

According to international media, Nash, 86, and his 82-year-old wife Alicia were killed when their taxi crashed in New Jersey.

The mathematician is renowned for his work in game theory, winning the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994. His breakthroughs in maths - and his struggles with schizophrenia - were the focus of the 2001 film.

Russell Crowe, who played him, tweeted: "Stunned... My heart goes out to John & Alicia & family. An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts."

The film's director, Ron Howard, also tweeted his tribute to the "brilliant" John Nash and his "remarkable" wife.

Alicia Nash helped care for her husband, and the two later became prominent mental health advocates.

According to police officers, the two were thrown from their vehicle and media reports said the couple may not have been wearing seatbelts when they crashed. Their taxi driver, and a passenger in another car, were also injured.

Nash first studied in Pittsburgh before moving to Princeton, where his recommendation letter contained just one line: "This man is a genius."

Nash married Alicia Larde in 1957, after publishing some of his breakthrough works in game theory, which is the mathematical study of decision-making. However, he developed severe schizophrenia soon after, and Alicia had him committed for psychiatric care several times. The couple divorced in 1962.

"I was disturbed in this way for a very long period of time, like 25 years," Nash said in an interview on the Nobel website.

The two  however, remained close, and his condition had begun to improve by the 1980s, and they ultimately remarried in 2001.

The President of Princeton, Christopher Eisgruber, said he was "stunned and saddened" to hear of their deaths.

"John's remarkable achievements inspired generations of mathematicians, economists and scientists who were influenced by his brilliant, groundbreaking work in game theory," he said.

Even this week, Nash received the Abel prize, another top honour in the field of mathematics.