Nobel Prize-winning physicist and author Stephen Hawking has died, aged 76.
The great brain behind the bestseller A Brief History of Time died at home in Cambridge, England on Wednesday morning (14Mar18).
Hawking became an unlikely celebrity thanks to his groundbreaking book about relativity, black holes, and the cosmos. His early life and his battle with rare neurological condition Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which left him confined to a wheelchair, was turned into hit 2014 movie The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne.
His children Lucy, Robert, and Tim have released a statement, which reads: "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
"He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love'. We will miss him forever."
Born in Oxford, England in 1942, Hawking studied at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. He was diagnosed with ALS (aka motor neurone disease) in 1963 and given just two years to live.
His bestselling book, A Brief History of Time, which was published in 1988, has sold more than 10 million copies. It also spawned a documentary, in which Hawking starred.
He also appeared on TV in episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he was animated for The Simpsons and Futurama.
American astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson was among the first people to pay tribute to his colleague, stating: "His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018."
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