Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76, the Daily Mail reports. The celebrated scientist took his last breath today, a spokesman for his family said.
Hawking was known for one of the most famous science books of all time, A Brief History of Time, which was the subject Oscar-winning film, The Theory of Everything, in 2014.
The theoretical physicist suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Hawking had to spend his entire adult life paralyzed in a wheelchair. Despite the challenges he faced, the genius made extraordinary scientific contributions to the world.
Stephen William Hawking was born January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England and had two younger sisters and a brother.
In a statement, Professor Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim 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 humor inspired people across the world.”
“Stephen 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.”
Hawking defied the standards of medical science and reached old age despite suffering from such a rare disease. Nevertheless, the Englishman was forced to miss a scientific discussion to mark his 70th birthday in January 2012 because he was released from a hospital only two days prior to the event.
Hawking was also known for his excellent sense of humor. In an interview with New Scientist magazine, Hawking said there was still one puzzle left for him. When asked what that was, he replied, “Women. They are a complete mystery.”
The famed scientist was married and divorced twice. His first life partner was Jane Wilde, a fellow student at Cambridge with whom Hawking lived with for 28 years. After that, he tied the knot with his nurse, Elaine Mason, with whom Hawking spent his next 11 years.
Hawking fathered three children from his first marriage, Robert, Timothy, and Lucy.
Hawking, together with Roger Penrose, united Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time began with the Big Bang and will end in black holes. His major scientific work was also to discover that black holes are not entirely black while they emit radiation and they will eventually evaporate and disappear.
Fellow scientists praised Hawking for his contribution to physics.
“His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake,” said Neil deGrasse Tyson. “But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure.”