MSNBC reports that the 58-year-old Peek had a major heart attack on Saturday and was pronounced dead at the hospital. While Rain Man was a fictional narrative, screenwriter Barry Morrow was inspired to create the story after meeting Peek at a convention in the early '80s. Morrow was charmed by Peek's ability to memorize everything he heard, and went on to write Raymond Babbitt, the character that earned Dustin Hoffman an Academy Award.
Kim's father, Fran Peek said of his son: "It was just unbelievable, all the things that he knew. He traveled 5,500 miles short of 3 million air miles and talked to nearly 60 million people -- half have been students." As the years went on, the younger Peek became a "mega-savant," having become a genius in an impressive 15 subjects ranging from literature to sports to geography. As MSNBC says: "NASA scientists had been studying Peek, hoping that technology used to study the effects of space travel on the brain would help explain his mental capabilities."
We've posted a fascinating documentary called The Real Rain Man after the jump for you watch.
Rest in peace, Mr. Peek.