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Jean-Dominique Bauby
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Author
    (April 23, 1952-March 9, 1997)
    Born in Paris, France
    Editor of the fashion magazine 'ELLE'
    Suffered a massive stroke (December 8, 1995)
    Came out of a coma 20 days later suffering from locked-in syndrome
    His mental faculties were intact, but his body was largely paralyzed
    Was able to blink his left eyelid
    Wrote the memoir 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' (1997)
    Died of pneumonia two days after publication
    He was nicknamed Jean-Do.
    He was a womanizer.
    Ironically, shortly before his stroke, he had re-read 'The Count of Monte Cristo,' in which Noirtier de Villefort is 'literature's first -- and so far only -- case of locked-in syndrome.'
    He became hypersensitive to noise, making visits from his two sons difficult to endure.
    After 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' was adopted into a critically acclaimed film, a public rift developed between the mother of his two children and his last girlfriend over the differences in how they were portrayed in the book and on the screen.
    The mother of his kids said he was 'intelligent, witty, stylish and loved by everybody.'
    He said he decided to write because, 'I had to rely on myself if I wanted to prove my IQ was still higher than a turnip's.'
    He composed and edited the book entirely in his head, then dictated it one letter at a time by blinking when the correct letter was reached by a facilitator reciting the alphabet.
    The New York Times described his book 'as moving as Job's and as expansive, in its way, as any composed by the wheelchaired, boundless Stephen Hawking.'
    He established the Association for Locked-In Syndrome, the first organization for people suffering the condition, in order 'to carry on my fight against fatalism.'
    He lived long enough to see his memoirs praised by critics.

Credit: C. Fishel


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