Oliver Sacks, best known for his best-selling books on neurological disorders and experiences, has passed away at 82 from Cancer. Sacks was best known for his memoir, Awakenings, in which he described his work using the drug L-Dopa to assist patients suffering from encephalitis and chronic catatonia. This memoir would later be turned into a film starring Robin Williams.
Read anything from NPR to the New York Times today and you will feel the true pain of the loss of Sacks. Not only was he a brilliant mind who deeply contributed to society with his writings, but he was also a good human being. According to NPR, his long term friend Orrin Devinsky, a neurology professor at New York University and colleague, said that Sacks received nearly “10,000” letters a year, but was quoted as saying, ” ‘I invariably reply to people under 10, over 90 or in prison.’ ”
In 2009, Sacks did a TED talk regarding hallucinations and what they tell us about our minds. He believed that many of his hallucinations came from early experiments with LSD in his youth.
In February of this year, Sacks wrote an OP-ED piece for the New York Times and informed his readership that a melanoma had spread from his eye to his liver and he didn’t have much longer to live. Instead of wallowing, he praised the fact that he had been given time on this earth and that he had been able to do great things with it. Last month, Sacks wrote another piece chronicling his illness and the changes to his body. One of the most powerful lines states:
I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.
Oliver Sacks will be deeply missed by not only family and the medical community, but by those he helped champion and the readers who loved him for it.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Sacks.