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'Beautiful Mind' John Nash and wife die in US crash

By David Usborne

Published 25/05/2015

Mathematician John Nash (left) and Russell Crowe, who played him in A Beautiful Mind
Mathematician John Nash (left) and Russell Crowe, who played him in A Beautiful Mind
Mathematician John Nash with wife Alicia

John Nash, the Nobel Laureate whose life as both a genius mathematician and a victim of cruel mental disorders inspired the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, has died with his wife Alicia Nash in a crash on a busy stretch of US motorway.

He was 86 years old and his wife was 82.

They were on the way to their home near Princeton University in New Jersey late on Saturday. Police said the driver lost control of the taxi they were riding in and struck a central reservation barrier. The two were thrown from their vehicle. They may not have been wearing seatbelts.

Russell Crowe, the actor who portrayed Mr Nash in the film, said he was "stunned" on hearing of the accident. "Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts," Mr Crowe wrote on Twitter.

Mr Nash was one of three men who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for economics for their work on game theory, which used mathematical theorems to describe and predict the outcomes of contests.

His work was in time widely adopted, including in the fields of business and diplomacy. But his career for a long period was derailed by mental dysfunction, eventually to be diagnosed as schizophrenia.

He had already laid down the outlines of his theory when, aged 30, he resigned from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suffering from delusions, hallucinations and paranoia.

Some of those years, during which he and Alicia were divorced, were spent wandering Europe.

The condition eased when he was in his early 50s. Mr Nash joined the faculty at Princeton, and he remarried Alicia in 2001.

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