BREAKING: Scientist Stephen Hawking Dies
Cosmology's brightest star has passed away, aged 76
Cosmology's brightest star Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, BBC News reports.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, a spokesman for his family said.
The Briton was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
At the age of 22, Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.
The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser. However, his brilliant mind understood the mysteries of time and space unlike no other, despite the rest of his body being paralysed with the disease.
His family released a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirming his death at his home in Cambridge.
Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics.
He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing - a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation.
The scientist gained popularity outside the academic world and appeared in several TV shows including The Simpsons, Red Dwarf and The Big Bang Theory.
He was portrayed in both TV and film - recently by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, which told the story of his rise to fame and relationship with his first wife, Jane.
BBC News continues to report that Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: “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 humour inspired people across the world.
For fellow scientists and loved ones, it was Hawking’s intuition and wicked sense of humour that marked him out as much as the fierce intellect which, coupled with his illness, came to symbolise the unbounded possibilities of the human mind.
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