When Breath Becomes Air (Kalanithi)

Author Bio
Birth—April 1, 1977
Raised—Westchester, New York; Kingman, Arizona, USA
Died—March 9, 2015
Where—San Francisco Bay Area, California
Education—2 B.As, M.A., Stanford University; M.P., Cambridge University; M.D. Yale University
Awards—Lewis H. Nahum Prize (research on Tourette's)


Paul Kalanithi was an American neurosurgeon and writer. His book When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It was posthumously published by Random House in January 2016.

Kalanithi was born to Cardiologist Paul Kalanithi and his wife, Sue, on April 1, 1977 and lived in Westchester, New York. Kalanithi had two brothers.The family moved to Kingman, Arizona when Kalanithi was 10 where he graduated as the valedictorian of Kingman High School.

He attended Stanford University and graduated with a bachelor of arts and an master's degree in English literature as well as a bachelor of science in human biology. After Stanford, he earned a master’s in the history and philosophy of science and medicine from the University of Cambridge. He went on to the Yale School of Medicine. He graduated from Yale Medicine in 2007 cum laude, winning the Lewis H. Nahum Prize for his research on Tourette’s syndrome.

In May 2013, Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer. He died 22 months later, having completed his neurosurgery residency at the Stanford Medical School and having become a first-time father only eight months before. At the time of his death, he was an instructor in the Department of Neurosurgery and a fellow at the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 2/10/2016.)

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