Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the prestigious Fields Medal for mathematics, has died in the US.
The 40-year-old Iranian, a professor at Stanford University, had breast cancer which had spread to her bones.
Nicknamed the “Nobel Prize for Mathematics”, the Fields Medal is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40.
It was given to Prof Mirzakhani in 2014 for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Prof Mirzakhani’s death caused “great sorrow,” state media reported.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said her death was a cause for grief for all Iranians.
“A light was turned off today. It breaks my heart… gone far too soon,” US-Iranian scientist Firouz Naderi posted on Instagram.
He added in a subsequent post: “A genius? Yes. But also a daughter, a mother and a wife.”
Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne described Prof Mirzakhani as “a brilliant mathematical theorist and also a humble person who accepted honours only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her path”.
“Maryam is gone far too soon but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science,” he said.