Oliver Sacks, ‘Awakenings’ Author, Dead at 82

The movie version of “Awakenings” was nominated for three Academy Awards. Its star Robert De Niro said the neurologist “made the world a better place”

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06: Dr. Oliver Sacks speaks at the Music Has Power Awards Benefit in the Allen Room at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 6, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
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Famed British neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, whose 1973 book “Awakenings” inspired an Oscar-nominated movie by the same name, has died. He was 82.

Sacks died Sunday at his home in New York City after a long battle with cancer, his assistant Kate Edgar told the New York Times.

Sacks was a best-selling author who wrote several nonfiction books including “The Island of the Colorblind” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.” But he was best known for penning “Awakenings,” an account of how he brought a group of patients “back to life” after they spent years in “frozen states” after an illness.

The movie version of the book starred Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1991. DeNiro said Sunday that he was saddened by Sacks’ death.

“He was a remarkable doctor who made extraordinary contributions to medical science and to society. Oliver looked into the human mind and found beauty He shared his insights with the world and made the world a better place. There is no one to take his place,” the actor said in a statement.

Sacks was born in London on July 9, 1933 and moved to New York in 1965.

He is survived by his longtime partner, writer Bill Hayes.