John Nash, Nobel Prize winner and acclaimed mathematician whose life was depicted in the Academy Award-winning film “A Beautiful Mind” was killed alongside his wife in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike Saturday.
New Jersey State Police Sgt. Gregory Williams confirmed the death of Nash, 86, and his wife, Alicia, 82, after a taxi lost control and hit a guardrail. Another car was involved in the crash, and the passenger in that vehicle was sent to the hospital, though injuries are non life threatening, according to state police. The crash is under investigation and there are no charges at this time.
Nash won a Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994 for his work on game theory. According to NJ.com, he and his wife in Norway last Tuesday to receive the Abel Prize for mathematics.
Nash began struggling with mental illness shortly after he and Alicia were married in 1957. They divorced six years later, but kept a good relationship, ultimately remarrying in 2001. They had a son, John, who was also diagnosed with schizophrenia. The two lived in Princeton, New Jersey, where Nash was a senior researcher in mathematics at the Ivy League university.
Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber on Sunday noted Nash’s “remarkable achievements” in a statement: “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. 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.”
Despite battling paranoid schizophrenia, Nash succeeded in some of the most expansive contributions to modern economic thought, finance, medicine and social policy. His profound work inspired Sylvia Nasar’s book, “A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash,” which was adapted for the big screen in an acclaimed film starring Russell Crowe.
Crowe, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Nash, wrote on Twitter Sunday that he was stunned by the news. “Stunned … my heart goes out to John & Alicia & family. An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts,” Crowe tweeted.
Actor Jennifer Connelly, who won an Academy Award for her supporting role as Alicia Nash in the movie, reacted on Sunday to the sudden death. “This is a great loss. John and Alicia Nash were an inspiration and I have deep admiration for all that they accomplished in their lives. My thoughts are with their family,” Connelly wrote in a statement.