Sunday, 30 August 2015

Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist and author, dies age 82

Dr. Oliver Sacks, whose books like "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" probed distant ranges of human experience by compassionately portraying people with severe and sometimes bizarre neurological conditions, has died. He was 82. Sacks died Sunday at his home in New York City, his assistant, Kate Edgar, said. Sacks had announced in February 2015 that he was terminally ill with a rare eye cancer that had spread to his liver. As a practicing neurologist, Sacks looked at some of his patients with a writer's eye and found publishing gold. In his best-selling 1985 book, he described a man who really did mistake his wife's face for his hat while visiting Sacks' office, because his brain had difficulty interpreting what he saw. Sacks himself suffered from prosopagnosia, or face blindness. He described his inability to recognize faces to Lesley Stahl for "60 Minutes" in 2012. "People do think you may be snubbing them or stupid, or mad, or inattentive," he said. "That's why it's so important to recognize what one has and to admit it." His own impairment no doubt helped Sacks connect with his patients, even those lost for years to illness.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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