Celebrated Neurologist, Author Confronts Own Death

Oliver Sacks has months to live, feels 'intensely alive'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2015 2:39 PM CST
Celebrated Neurologist, Author Confronts Own Death
In this 2007 photo provided by the BBC, neurologist Oliver Sacks poses at a piano while holding a model of a brain.   (AP Photo/BBC, Adam Scourfield)

Oliver Sacks, the renowned neurologist who has written best-sellers about the workings of the brain such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings, reveals in the New York Times today that he has only months to live because of cancer. And yet, the 81-year-old writes that he feels "intensely alive" and focused. "I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight."

Which means no more NewsHour in the evening or worries about global warming. It's not that he doesn't care about world events anymore, "but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future." He's a little afraid, yes, but that's nothing compared to the gratitude he feels for having lived a life full of love, reading, writing, travel, and "intercourse with the world." More than anything, "I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure." Click for his full piece. (Read more mortality stories.)

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