Nash, 86, and his 82-year-old wife Alicia were riding in a taxi on Saturday when the accident took place, police Sergeant Gregory Williams told AFP.
“The taxi passengers were ejected,” Williams said, adding that they were both killed.
The Princeton University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) mathematician is best known for his contribution to game theory — the study of decision-making — which won him the Nobel economics prize in 1994.
His life story formed the basis of the Oscar-winning 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind” in which actor Russell Crowe played the genius, who struggled with mental illness.
“Stunned…my heart goes out to John & Alicia & family. An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts,” Crowe said on Twitter.
Earlier this month, Nash and mathematician Louis Nirenberg received Norway’s prestigious Abel Prize for their contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) and its applications to geometric analysis.
Williams said the deadly accident occurred at 4:30 pm (2030 GMT) on the New Jersey Turnpike near the township of Monroe, after the taxi the couple was riding in attempted to pass another vehicle, lost control and struck a guard rail.
The taxi driver was airlifted to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A passenger in the other car was taken to the hospital with neck and back pain, Williams said. – AFP