An outpouring of emotion from writers like J.K. Rowling and Joyce Carol Oates has commenced following the passing of Dr. Oliver Sacks. The neurologist and author of books like Awakenings and Musicophilia died on Sunday at the age of 82 in his New York City home.
Rowling took to Twitter and called Sacks “great, humane, and inspirational.” Following Sacks’ announcement in February that he was terminally ill with a rare eye cancer, he wrote an essay for The New York Times that Rowling referenced in her tribute.
It read in part, “I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever.”
“We will be miss Oliver Sacks terribly,” Oates tweeted. “Last time we’d met Oliver spoke w/ boyish enthusiasm about ‘beautiful’ minerals– & many other things.”
As a practicing neurologist and skilled writer, Sacks explored the brain’s unique pathways through his various works. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat took a meditative approach to consciousness in documenting his patients’ unique conditions; Musicophillia: Tales of Music and the Brain explored the brain’s reaction to music by examining specific case studies; and his ’73 book Awakenings became a feature film starring Robin Williams.
See more reactions to Sacks’ passing below, including ones from Olivia Wilde and Carrie Brownstein.