Kim Peek, the autistic savant who inspired the Oscar-winning film Rain Man, has died, aged 58.
Mr Peek's father Fran said that his son had suffered a major heart attack on Saturday and was pronounced dead at a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, the town where he had spent his life.
Mr Peek was probably the world's most famous savant. Described as a confounding mixture of disability and genius, his astonishing ability to retain knowledge inspired the writer Barry Morrow to write Rain Man, the 1988 movie starring Dustin Hoffman that won four Academy Awards.
Born in 1951 in Salt Lake city, Mr Peek was diagnosed as severely mentally retarded and his parents were advised to place him in an institution and forget about him. Thirty years later, he was classified as a "mega-savant," a genius in about 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates.
By the time of his death he had committed more than 9,000 books to memory and Nasa made him the subject of MRI-based research, hoping that technology used to study the effects of space travel on the brain would help explain his mental capabilities.
He would read eight books a day, taking just ten seconds to read a page. He could read two pages simultaneously, his left eye reading the left page and his right eye reading the right page.
But throughout his life he still needed 24-hour care. Despite his great mental agility, his motor skills remained limited; he could not perform simple tasks such as dressing himself or combing his hair.
Rcently the medical profession has been trying to determine who started that silly rumor that one must drink four glasses of water a day.