Mathematician John Nash, who inspired the Oscar winning film A Beautiful Mind, has died in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday, police have confirmed. The 86 year and his wife Alicia were both killed in the accident, while travelling in a taxi cab back from Newark Airport.

John Nash Mathematician John Nash has died aged 86.

The couple were on their way back to their Princeton home after travelling to Norway to receive the Abel Prize, a prestigious international math award. The couple’s taxi driver is reported to have lost control of the vehicle as he tried to pass another car in the center lane, both cars then crashed into a guard rail.

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The driver of the other vehicle, a Chrysler was taken to hospital but is said to be expected to survive. According to the state police the couple were mostly likely not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

John Nash and Alicia Ladre married in 1957 and their relationship was the basis for the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind. After publishing breakthrough works in game theory in the mid 1950s, Nash developed severe schizophrenia and spent several years at psychiatric hospitals.

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The strain of Nash's illness caused him and Ladre to divorce in 1963, but the couple stayed close. Nash’s condition eventually began to improve by the 1970s and he was able to return to his work in mid-1980s. In the 1990s he resumed his relationship with Ladre and the couple remarried in 2001.

Russell Crowe, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Nash, expressed his condolences via Twitter. “ heart goes out to John & Alicia & family.” the actor wrote. “An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”