TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — John Forbes Nash Jr., a mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind,” has died along with his wife in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. He was 86.
Nash and Alicia Nash, 82, of Princeton Township, were killed in a taxi crash Saturday, state police said. A colleague who had received an award with Nash in Norway earlier in the week said they had just flown home and the couple had taken a cab home from the airport.
Russell Crowe, who portrayed Nash in “A Beautiful Mind,” tweeted that he was “stunned.”
“An amazing partnership,” he wrote. “Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”
In a statement Sunday, his co-star in the film, Jennifer Connelly, called the couple “an inspiration,” and the film’s director, Ron Howard, tweeted that “it was an honor telling part of their story.”
Known as brilliant and eccentric, Nash was associated with Princeton University for many years, most recently serving as a senior research mathematician. He won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1994 for his work in game theory, which offered insight into the dynamics of human rivalry. It is considered one of the most influential ideas of the 20th century.
Just a few days ago, Nash had received a prize from the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters in Oslo with New York University mathematician Louis Nirenberg, who said he’d chatted with the couple for an hour at the airport in Newark before they’d gotten a cab. Nirenberg said Nash was a truly great mathematician and “a kind of genius.”
Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber said the Nashes were special members of the university community.
New Jersey State Police say the Nashes were both ejected from the cab in the crash around 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Monroe Township, about 15 miles northeast of Trenton. The cab driver was hospitalized.
The 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind” won four Oscars, including best picture and best director, and generated interest in John Nash’s life story. The movie was based on an unauthorized biography by Sylvia Nasar, who wrote that Nash’s contemporaries found him “immensely strange” and “slightly cold, a bit superior, somewhat secretive.”
Nash then taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for several years and held a research post at Brandeis University before eventually returning to Princeton.