Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who also dabbled in writing. He grew up in Kingman, Arizona, and earned a BA and MA in English literature, as well as a BA in human biology, from Stanford University. He received an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in the history and philosophy of science and medicine, and he graduated with honors from Yale School of Medicine, where he was accepted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor organization. He returned to Stanford to complete his neurological surgery residency and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, at which time he was awarded the American Academy of Neurological Surgery's top research honor. In March of 2015, he passed away. His huge, loving family, which includes his wife, Lucy, and their daughter, Elizabeth Acadia, survives him.