Kim Peek, who was born with mental handicaps, passed away in Utah on Saturday (19Dec09) after suffering a heart attack.
Peek inspired the character of Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin Hoffman in the film, and gained international attention after the picture’s release. He later became a popular public speaker.
Peek’s unusual medical condition enabled him to memorise and recite vast amounts of information, and he was said to have committed more than 9,000 books to memory. His story inspired writer Barry Morrow to pen the script that went on to win four Academy Awards, including the Best Actor prize for Hoffman.
Peek is survived by his father, Fran.