Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author, dead at 82
Renowned neurologist, author wrote books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat
Dr. Oliver Sacks, the neurologist who studied the intricacies of the brain and wrote eloquently about them in books such as Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, died on Sunday at the age of 82, the New York Times reported.
The British-born Sacks, who announced in February 2015 that he had terminal liver cancer, died at his home in New York City, his longtime personal assistant Kate Edgar told the Times.
Sacks was called “a kind of poet laureate of medicine” and “one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century” by the New York Times.
Using a typewriter or writing in longhand, Sacks authored more than a dozen books, filling them with detailed, years-long case histories of patients who often became his friends. He explained to lay readers how the brain handles everything from autism to savantism, colourblindness to Tourette’s syndrome, and how his patients could adapt to their unconventional minds.
Sacks’ view, as expressed in his 1995 book An Anthropologist on Mars, was that such disorders also came with a potential that could bring out “latent powers, developments, evolutions, forms of life that might never be seen, or even be imaginable.”
“The brain is the most intricate mechanism in the universe,” he said in a People magazine interview. “I couldn’t imagine spending my life with kidneys.”