Stephen Hawking, the brilliant British theoretical physicist known and respected around the world for his incredible life story, died on Wednesday.
He was 76 years old.
Hawking overcame a debilitating disease to publish enormously popular books that delved into the mysteries of the universe.
His passing was confirmed to the press and the public by a family spokesperson and his three kids and first wife released a statement early today that reads as follows:
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.
His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world.
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.
The cause of death is unknown at this time.
Simply put, had been widely considered the world’s greatest scientist.
But he was more than that; he was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the landmark “A Brief History of Time.”
The latter has sold more than 10 million copies across the globe.
Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurons disease at 21 years of old in 1963 and given two years to live at the time.
As this condition worsened, he eventually started to lose his ability to move, slowly being able to only communicate by using a single cheek muscle that was attached to a device which allowed him to speak.
Despite his diagnosis, however, Hawking defied every possible odd.
He continued his studies at Cambridge University and went on to merge Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory in order to suggest that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end in black holes.
“A star just went out in the cosmos,” Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, wrote on Twitter. “We have lost an amazing human being.”
Hawking was wheelchair-bound and paralyzed.
He used a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerized voice with an American accent.
“I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many,” he once wrote on his website, adding:
“I have been lucky that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope.”
In 2014, Hawking’s life was adapted into the film The Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed the physicist, and Felicity Jones, who played his ex-wife Jane.
Redmayne (below) won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work on the film.
Elsewhere in entertainment, Hawking appeared on such hit shows as The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Across Hollywood, stars have taken to Twitter to express their sadness over Hawking’s passing, with actor Kumail Nanjiani, for example, writing:
“RIP Stephen Hawking. Genuinely very sad to hear that. If you haven’t, read A Brief History of Time. It’ll make the world feel more amazing and beautiful and strange. It’ll also make you feel smart and stupid all at once.”
Hawking, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, was also married twice.
He and his aforementioned first wife, Jane Wilde, were together for over 30 years before divorcing in 1995.
Hawking was later married for 11 years to Elaine Mason, one of his former nurses.
The late scientist’s three kids are named Lucy, Robert and Tim and we send them our best wishes.
May Stephen Hawking rest in peace.