Oliver Sacks, inspirational neurologist and author, dies aged 82

by |August 30, 2015

From The Guardian:

Oliver Sacks, the eminent neurologist and writer, has died at his home in New York City. He was 82.

the-man-who-mistook-his-wife-for-a-hatThe cause of death was the cancer, Kate Edgar, his longtime personal assistant, told the New York Times, which had published an essay by Sacks in February revealing that an earlier melanoma in his eye had spread to his liver and that he was in the late stages of terminal cancer.

The London-born academic, whose book Awakenings inspired the Oscar-nominated film of the same name, wrote: “A month ago, I felt that I was in good health, even robust health. At 81, I still swim a mile a day. But my luck has run out – a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver.”

Sacks was the author of several books about unusual medical conditions, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat and The Island of the Colourblind. Awakenings was based on his work with patients treated with a drug that woke them up after years in a catatonic state. The 1990 film version, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, was nominated for three Oscars including best picture.

on-the-move-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-On the Move

by Oliver Sacks

When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: ‘Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far.’ It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going.

From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California and then in New York, where he discovered a long forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, as well as with a group of patients who would define his life, it becomes clear that Sacks’ earnest desire for engagement has occasioned unexpected encounters and travels – sending him through bars and alleys, over oceans, and across continents.

With unbridled honesty and humour, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions – bodybuilding, weightlifting, and swimming – also drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual, his guilt over leaving his family to come to America, his bond with his schizophrenic brother, and the writers and scientists – A.R. Luria, W.H. Auden, Francis Crick – who influenced him.

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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