The pair were killed at the New Jersey Turnpike around 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday when the cab in which they were traveling crashed while trying to pass another vehicle, New Jersey state police spokesman Sgt. First Class Gregory Williams said.
The couple, who were not believed to have been wearing seat belts, were thrown from the vehicle and died on scene, Williams said.
The cab driver was injured in the crash and flown to hospital, he said.
A spokesman for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office told NJ.com that no charges were expected to be laid in the case.
“Their breakthroughs have developed into versatile and robust techniques that have become essential tools for the study of nonlinear partial differential equations,” the Abel committee said in a statement outlining its decision to honor the pair. “Their impact can be felt in all branches of the theory.”
During his career, Nash was also honored with the John von Neumann Theory Prize in 1978 and an American Mathematical Society prize in 1998.
Born in 1928 in Bluefield, West Virginia, to an electrical engineer father and school teacher mother, Nash was reading advanced mathematical texts by the time he was in high school.
He received a scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University as a chemical engineering student before switching to mathematics. As a graduate student he studied at Princeton University where he continued to explore game theory. Upon graduating, he worked in the mathematics faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Alicia Nash, born Larde, was a physics student at M.I.T. and once told PBS she was dazzled by the genius.
“I walked into the classroom, and I thought he was very nice looking,” she said. “He was like the fair-haired boy of the math department.”
The pair were married in 1957.
When John began experiencing mental illness, Alicia, a new mother, made the painful decision to have her husband committed to an asylum to receive treatment.
“I tried to remain positive as much as I could,” Alicia told PBS. “And I really tried not to feel pity for myself.”
The pair divorced in 1960, but 10 years later Alicia took John back into her home as a “boarder” so she could help care for him.
As Nash’s mental illness gradually subsided, and he began receiving recognition for his work, the pair decided to remarry in 2001, some 38 years after they first split up.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Connelly said the pair’s deaths were a “great loss.”
“John and Alicia Nash were an inspiration and I have deep admiration for all that they accomplished in their lives,” the actress said. “My thoughts are with their family.”
The film was based on a biography of the same name by writer Sylvia Nasar, who won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Nasar wrote in her biography that John’s marriage to Alicia, who supported him through his mental illness, proved to be one of the most intelligent decisions of his life.
“It was Nash’s genius,” she wrote, “to choose a woman who would prove so essential to his survival.”
Nash received the Abel Prize from the King of Norway. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the King of Sweden bestowed the honor upon Nash.