Mr. Peek was not autistic — not all savants are autistic and not all autistics are savants — but he was born with severe brain abnormalities that impaired his physical coordination and made ordinary reasoning difficult. He could not dress himself or brush his teeth without help. He found metaphoric language incomprehensible and conceptualization baffling.
But with an astonishing skill that allowed him to read facing pages of a book at once — one with each eye — he read as many as 12,000 volumes. Even more remarkable, he could remember what he had read.
Indeed, Mr. Peek, who died Dec. 19 at home in Salt Lake City, had perhaps the world’s most capacious memory for facts. He was 58. The cause was a heart attack, said his father, Fran Peek.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
A remarkable mind
Kim Peek, Inspiration for ‘Rain Man,’ Dies at 58