Stephen Hawking recently cancelled a number of public appearances, as he is reportedly “not very well.” Although the nature of Hawking’s illness was not disclosed, the world-renowned cosmologist has suffered with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for 52 years.
As reported by Telegraph, Hawking was scheduled to appear at the Royal Institution in London to record a program for the Reith Lectures. Although the program was due to be broadcast on November 24, the recording and release of the lecture were postponed.
A Cambridge University spokeswoman confirmed Stephen cancelled several public appearances due to ill health. However, she did not provide any specific details about the cosmologist’s health.
As he was looking forward to the lecture, which will explore Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, Hawking’s representatives said he hopes to reschedule for a later date.
A native of Oxford, England, Stephen William Hawking showed an interest in science and research at a young age.
As reported by Biography, the budding scientist was “recognized as bright.” However, he preferred to work alone or with a few friends. As a result, his schoolwork often suffered.
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) November 10, 2015
In addition to science, Stephen enjoyed numerous sports, including dancing, hiking, rock climbing, and rowing. Although he admittedly did not spend more than “an hour a day” on his schoolwork, Hawking graduated from Oxford with honors. He then went on to earn a Ph.D. in cosmology from Cambridge University’s Trinity Hall.
Stephen Hawking later admitted he was experiencing troubling symptoms for several years. However, he was not diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, until 1963.
At the age of 21, the young scientist was diagnosed a debilitating disease — for which there is no cure. As reported by the ALS Association, a majority of patients diagnosed with the devastating disease die within five years of the initial diagnosis.
Although the diagnosis was frightening, Hawking was not willing to let it get him down. Two years after he was diagnosed, the cosmologist married the love of his life — Jane Wilde.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) November 10, 2015
Stephen’s physical condition continued to deteriorate slowly. However, his mind remained sharp. In the years following his diagnosis, he was revered for his work with Hawking radiation and the Penrose-Hawking theorems.
Throughout his career, Stephen Hawking was honored with numerous awards, including the Albert Einstein Award, the Dirac Medal, and the Fundamental Physics Prize.
In addition to conducting research and making public appearances, Hawking has written nine books, including A Brief History of Time. He also co-authored several children’s books with his daughter, Lucy.
Stephen and Jane are the parents of three children; Lucy, Robert, and Timothy. Although they were married for 30 years, he and Jane were divorced in 1995. Months later, the talented cosmologist married Elaine Mason — who worked as his nurse.
Hawking’s marriage to Elaine lasted nine years. Following their divorce, he and his former wife Jane reconnected and remain close friends.
Although Stephen is confined to a wheelchair, and cannot speak, he remains the longest living ALS survivor. The cosmologist loves discussing his scientific work. However, he rarely talks about his illness.
As reported by the Guardian, Stephen Hawking has suffered several setbacks in the last six years. According to reports, he was hospitalized for a chest infection in 2009. In 2014, he admitted he has been on “full-time ventilation” for the last three years.
Despite the setbacks, Hawking insisted he is still “leading a full and active life.” Until recently, he continued to make public appearances and give guest lectures.
The nature of Stephen Hawking’s current illness is unknown. However, it has forced him to cancel several public appearances. According to reports, he has discussed plans to reschedule the Reith Lectures “once he is better.”