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Pausch had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006, and found out it was incurable in August 2007 after it had spread to other organs. A professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, Pausch was known for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.
He also was recognized as a pioneer in virtual-reality research. 24, he gave a speech entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" to an audience of faculty and students on the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh.
The Wall Street Journal and ABC News did long profiles on him, and the former was expanded into a best-selling book entitled "The Last Lecture" published in April.
Pausch rehashed his lecture on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and testified before a Congressional subcommittee about pancreatic cancer.
Pausch received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University and his Ph. He then taught at Charlottesville before returning to Carnegie Mellon.
During a 1998 visit to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to lecture on virtual reality, according to the Tribune-Review, he met his future wife.
There were fringe benefits as well: Pausch was invited to join the Pittsburgh Steelers for a day's practice, and, as a long-time Trekkie, he got a bit part and a line of dialogue in the upcoming "Star Trek" movie.
"We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully," he retorted."I thought, 'Damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it,'" he said.The deal for "The Last Lecture" book, co-written with Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey Zaslow, was reported to be worth more than million."But rest assured; I'm hardly unique." In the lecture, Pausch told a packed auditorium at Carnegie Mellon he had fulfilled almost all his childhood dreams — being in zero gravity, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia and working with the Walt Disney Co. He then joked about his quirky hobby of winning stuffed animals at amusement parks and how his mother introduced him to people to keep him humble: "This is my son — he's a doctor, but not the kind that helps people." The speech was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called "The Last Lecture," where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk.The name of the lecture series was changed to "Journeys" before Pausch spoke, something he joked about.