Last year, Carnegie Mellon University ran a series of lectures entitled "The Last Lecture", where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk to students.
One of the professors who spoke was Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist. Unlike the other lecturers in the series, Randy knew it was to be his actual last lecture, because he was facing terminal cancer.
In his moving presentation, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. The entire presentation (1:16:27 in length) became an inspiring Internet phenomenon.
From his sudden fame fron the above lecture, Randy became a mini-celebrity. He lobbied Congress for more federal funding for pancreatic cancer research and appeared on "Oprah" and other TV shows. In what he called "a truly magical experience," he was even invited to appear as an extra in the new "Star Trek" movie.
He also published a book last April, which is still on the bestseller list (#8 last week)
He died today at age 47.