Breaking: Physicist, Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76
The light goes out
The world has lost its brightest star in modern cosmology but his legacy will live on.
His work has been groundbreaking and his name has inspired many worldwide. Professor Stephen Hawking was an extraordinary man. He showed the world what could be achieved by the human mind even when the body is broken. After defying the odds for over five decades, he breathed his last on early Wednesday morning, 14 March.
In a statement, his children – Lucy, Robert and Timothy – said: "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. 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 for ever."
Hawking was 21 when he was first diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963. He was not expected to live for more than two years but his form of the disease progressed more slowly than usual. Although wheelchair-bound and unable to speak, he went on to live for more than half a century. His disability only pushed him harder to make meaningful work, of which his theories on black holes and relativity caused much excitement. Hawking also wrote a book, A Brief History of Time, which propelled him into stardom, selling over 10 million copies.
"Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research," he once said.
Hawking leaves behind three children – Lucy, Robert and Timothy – from his first marriage to Jane Wilde, and three grandchildren.