The man who inspired Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rain Man died Saturday of a heart attack at age 58. Kim Peek's life was thrust into the spotlight after meeting screenwriter Barry Morrow, who used Peek as the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman's Oscar-winning character. After the 1988 film became a hit, Peek spent the next 21 years demonstrating his mental abilities to more than 64 million people around the world, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Peek, who was able to retain nearly 98% of what read, heard, and watched (the average person holds on to about 45%), could read and memorize books as a 16-month-old and had committed as many as 9,000 books to memory. Peek, who was also a musical genius and was studied by NASA, was inseparable from his father, Fran, and the two worked to promote equal educational opportunities for the disabled.