“John’s remarkable achievements inspired generations of mathematicians, economists, and scientists who were influenced by his brilliant, groundbreaking work, 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,” Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in an official statement. Nash’s outside-the-box thinking caught the eye of many a scholar. In fact, one of his recommendation letters for Princeton contained just one line: “This man is a genius.”
Eisgruber’s sentiments are being echoed hundreds of times over, as heartfelt messages continue to flood social media. Even actor Russell Crowe, who played Nash in the 2001 film, spoke up.
Though Nash made it clear that A Beautiful Mind didn’t perfectly represent his life and work, having struggled for years with schizophrenia, he was proud that his experience could inspire those struggling with mental illness. Both he and Alicia are remembered not only by mathematicians and scholars, but by the millions of people who were touched by their story.
His death comes over two decades after he won the Nobel Prize, and just a week after he received the Abel Prize, another top honor in the field of mathematics. “While I don’t know how long I will live, or how much I will be able to do, at least I lived,” Nash said in a 2004 interview. He certainly did.
To learn more about John and Alica’s lives, read his full Nobel biography here.