Paul Kalanithi’s book, When Breath Becomes Air, is a poignant yet inspirational journey of a healthy man whose expectations of a long life are slaughtered. In 2013, sixteen months before completion of residency in neurological surgery, Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. As he endured cancer treatment, he turned to an earlier love: writing.
He began to share his reflections on illness and medicine, life and death. The New York Times, The Paris Review and Stanford Medicine, the journal of his alma mater, published his reflections, first as a doctor working with terminally ill patients and then, as a patient with a terminal illness.
He died March 2017, age 37, leaving his wife, Lucy, and their daughter born July 4, 2014.