The author, who helped explain several oddities in the brain to the world, died of cancer in his New York City home, New York Times reports. Sacks’s 1973 book Awakenings inspired the 1990 film, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams (below). According to the Times, Sacks announced in an inspirational Op-Ed essay in February that he was in the late stages of terminal cancer. “I had always liked to see myself as a naturalist or explorer”, Sacks wrote in “A Leg to Stand On” (1984), about his experiences recovering from surgery.
Oliver’s popularity is evident from the fact that once he received more than 10,000 letters in a year.
An Oxford-trained medical doctor, Sacks did his residency on the west coast before moving to New York in 1965 for a fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Prior to finding out about his tumor metastasizing, Dr. Sacks had said that he felt like he was absolutely in good health. He detailed how he was able to “awaken” them using the then- experimental drug L-dopa, but they then relapsed.
“Oliver Sacks died early this morning at his home in Greenwich Village, surrounded by his close friends and family”, said a statement in his website, post August 30.
Tom Shakespeare, a British disability rights activist, called him “the man who mistook his patients for a literary career”. He also taught at the New York University School of Medicine and the Columbia University. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. The condition is so extreme that, Sacks says in BBC One’s Imagine…, he “often starts apologising to a large clumsy bearded man” before realising that he is looking in a mirror. “I wish you had never been born”, her mother told an 18-year-old Sacks. “Awakenings“, his first non-fiction book to achieve popular success, revolves around a group of patients in the Bronx whose lives are changed by a cutting-edge treatment for a rare form encephalitis, aka “sleeping sickness”. Both were skilled at recounting medical stories, and Sacks later attributed his own storytelling urge to them, in his 2015 memoir, “On the Move”.
“The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat”, which describes cases of patients with visual agnosia, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette syndrome in 24 essays, was adapted into an opera in 1986 by Michael Nyman.
He is survived by his longtime partner, writer Bill Hayes.