John Nash, the Princeton University mathematician whose brilliance and mental health struggles inspired the Oscar-winning film “A Beautiful Mind,” died in a car crash in New Jersey on Saturday.
He was 86. Nash’s 82-year old wife, Alicia Nash, also died after a taxi that they were riding in crashed into a guard rail. A spokesman for the New Jersey state police did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but multiple reports state the Nashs were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the car.
The movie’s director, Ron Howard, tweeted, “RIP Brilliant #NobelPrize winning John Nash & and his remarkable wife Alicia. It was an honor telling part of their story #ABeautifulMind.”
Nash’s work in game theory, differential geometry, and other mathematical research were influential in economic, artificial intelligence, computer technology and a number of other fields. He shared the 1994 Nobel Prize for his work in economics along with Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi.
Sylvia Nasar’s 1998 biography “A Beautiful Mind” and the 2001 film it inspired documented Nash’s academic accomplishments and the schizophrenia that almost cost him his family and his career. The film earned four Oscars, including best picture and supporting actress Jennifer Connelly as Alicia Nash. The pic scored eight nominations in all, including Russell Crowe as John Nash.
On Twitter, Crowe wrote, “Stunned…my heart goes out to John & Alicia & family. An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”