Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal, often described as the Nobel Prize for mathematics, has died aged 40.

Professor Mirzakhani, who was also the first Iranian national to win the award, passed away after a four-year battle with breast cancer.

She received the Fields Medal in 2014 for her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.

At the time she was praised for the stunning advances she had made in some of the most complicated areas of the mathematics.

Professor Mirzakhani was also congratulated by the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, who said the nation can feel proud that the first woman who has ever won the Fields Medal is their fellow citizen.

Born in 1977 in Tehran, Professor Mirzakhani won two gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad, a competition for pre-college students.

She earned her BSc in mathematics from Iran’s Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and her PhD from Harvard University in 2004.

At the time of her death, she was a professor in the mathematics department at Stanford University.

(c) Sky News 2017: Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win Fields Medal, dies aged 40

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