Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch Dies at Age 47

Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who became famous when he developed cancer and delivered what he called his "last lecture." He died today, at the age of 47.

He was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. The last lecture he gave at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007 attracted international attention and was viewed by millions on the internet. He also published a book expanding on the lecture (which is at the top of the nonfiction bestseller lists). (I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list...)

In the lecture, he told his students how important it is to live each day fully, and he celebrated the fact that he had lived the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on his impending death. It's interesting that Professor Pausch died the same week as my coworker Kristi, because she too had that attitude throughout her cancer journey. I admire people like Professor Rausch and Kristi, and I suspect that if I were dying from cancer, I would not be that stoic or brave...especially if I were leaving children behind, as both of those two have done.

"I don't know how to not have fun," Pausch said in the lecture. "I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there's no other way to play it."

In a statement Friday, his wife thanked those who sent messages of support and said her husband was proud that his lecture and book "inspired parents to revisit their priorities, particularly their relationships with their children."

If you want to read more about Randy Pausch, go to Carnegie Mellon's web site.

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