Author James Martin dies aged 79

 

The largest ever donor to Oxford University and “extraordinary intellect” Dr James Martin has died, the university has said.

The body of 79-year-old British-born Dr Martin was found by a kayaker on Monday floating off the coast of Agar's Island in Bermuda where he lived, according to local reports.

A police spokesman told the Bermuda Sun that officers are carrying out an investigation into how the author and philanthropist died, but added that there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances.

Dr Martin's record breaking donation to Oxford University, believed to be more than £60 million, created the Oxford Martin School in 2005 - a research centre which addresses pressing global issues.

However, the Pulitzer nominee was best known for his best-selling books on computing and related technology, including The Wired Society which predicted the internet, and The Meaning Of The 21st Century.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, the vice-chancellor of the 900-year-old university, said: "James Martin was a true visionary whose exceptional generosity established the Oxford Martin School, allowing researchers from across the disciplines to work together on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity.

"His impact will be felt for generations to come, as through the school he has enabled researchers to address the biggest questions of the 21st century."

In a statement the university added: "James Martin was an inspiration to millions - an extraordinary intellect, with wide-ranging interests, boundless energy and an unwavering commitment to addressing the greatest challenges facing humanity."

The Director of the School, Professor Ian Goldin, said the research centre is a permanent legacy and a fitting tribute to Dr Martin, known as Jim.

"The Oxford Martin School embodies Jim's concern for humanity, his creativity, his curiosity, and his optimism," he said.

"Jim provided not only the founding vision, but was intimately involved with the School and our many programmes. We have lost a towering intellect, guiding visionary and a wonderful close friend."

PA

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