R. D. Laing, the British psychiatrist who became a counterculture hero of the 1960s with his controversial attacks on the nuclear family, died while vacationing in France, his son said today. He was 61.
The Scottish-born psychiatrist collapsed on a tennis court Wednesday in the southern French city of St. Tropez, said his son, Adrian. The cause of death was believed to be heart failure.
An unorthodox pioneer in the treatment of schizophrenics, Ronald David Laing jarred traditional psychiatry with his first book, "The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness," published in 1960.
Laing's views on the strains the nuclear family could put on an individual's sanity fell in with the rebellious spirit of the 1960s counterculture, which made him one of its gurus.