John Nash, the Nobel prize-winning mathematician and inspiration for the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind, died tragically in New Jersey this weekend. Nash and wife, Alicia, were passengers in a taxicab when the driver lost control of the car and crashed.
The couple lost their lives while the driver suffered serious injuries, but survived. Nash was 86 and Alicia was 82. Even through his extensive mathematician work, Nash is most known via the 2002 film in which Russell Crowe portrayed him as a mentally tortured genius with actress Jennifer Connelly playing his on-again off-again wife, Alicia.
Crowe shared his heartfelt condolences on Twitter saying, “Stunned… my heart goes out to John & Alicia & family. An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”
Although Nash had a long life filled with enormous mathematical and educational success, he was constantly faced with uphill battles in regards to his health and family life. Before marrying Alicia, Nash had been married to Eleanor Stier with whom she shares a child with but Nash left her while pregnant.
The portrayal of Nash’s life with Stier was criticized for inaccuracies and an unjust depiction of Nash’s love for his firstborn child. He eventually married Alicia in 1957 and divorced in 1963 after Nash was diagnosed with schizophrenia and began to suffer from intense delusions. The two reconnected in 2001 and were married until their deaths.
The author of the original A Beautiful Mind novel, Sylvia Nasar, described Nash’s health struggles - “He didn’t die, but his life, once so full of brightness and promise, became hellish.”
Nash leaves behind his two sons and a lifetime of genius-like knowledge and insight into the mathematical universe.