Sorrow after the death of Maryam Mirzakhani, a pioneering Iranian mathematician

Maryam Mirzakhani. Credit Stanford University

Mirzakhani, 40, fought with cancer for four years and was hospitalized lately as the cancer has spread to her bone marrow.

"A light was turned off today".

Mirzakhani had been diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, a year before she set the record of the first ever woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal, also known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Professor Mirzakhani won the prize in 2014 for her work on geometry and dynamical systems. "It breaks my heart. gone far too soon", friend Firouz Naderi, a Nasa scientist, also wrote in an Instagram post earlier in the day.

Stanford University has not responded to a request for comment from Newsweek. "Mirzakhani was the first Iranian woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences previous year, in recognition of her 'distinguished achievement in original research.' She was in good company: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell were past honorees".

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, Iran, and she lived in that country before coming to the U.S.to attend graduate school at Harvard University.

She received her BSc in mathematics in 1999 from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and then went on to earn a PhD from Haravard University in 2004.

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, Iran on May 3, 1977, and she quickly displayed an awesome talent for math.

Mirzakhani is survived by Jan Vondrák her husband who is a Czech theoretical computer scientist and associate professor at Stanford University, and a daughter named Anahita.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid tribute to her.

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