Physicist Stephen Hawking Dies at Age 76

Professor Stephen Hawking at Cambridge in 2013

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died early Wednesday at the age of 76, his family said in a statement, adding that the professor died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Cambridge.

Stephen Hawkings has left behind the most valuable science bible of our times, "A Brief History of Time" and his life itself is an example for anyone on the universe to never ever give up.

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today". His grit and tenacity inspired people all over 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".

Most of his life was spent in a wheelchair crippled by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease that attacks the nerves controlling voluntary movement.

In 1979, he was appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, where he had moved from Oxford University to study theoretical astronomy and cosmology. "“In order to make sure it was understandable I tried the book out on my nurses".

Hawking also recognised the enormous potential of the universe to be teeming with life and the advances in technology that might permit its detection in the near future.

In later years, though, he suggested a unified theory might not exist. It was followed in 2001 by "The Universe in a Nutshell".

The Oscar triumph was celebrated by Hawking, who has reportedly said there were moments watching the film when he thought he was watching himself. "If we find the answers to these questions, we really shall know the mind of God". "But it bothers me".

His life has been portrayed in various movies where award-winning actors like Benedict Cumberbatch (Hawking) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) played his character.

Over the years, Hawking became one of the most recognized names in contemporary science.

Richard Green, of the Motor Neurone Disease Association - the British name for ALS - said Hawking met the classic definition of the disease, as "the ideal mind trapped in an imperfect body".

Hawking's doctors gave him almost two years to live but he defied the medical history and survived for decades.

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"My goal is simple", he once said.

"In the long run the human race should not have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet", Hawking said in 2008.

Hawking discovered the phenomenon which became known as Hawking radiation, where black holes leak energy and fade to nothing.

His book A Brief History of Time became an unlikely best-seller although it is unclear how many people actually managed to get to the end of it. "It really was quite revolutionary".

As an astrophysicist who has spent a significant fraction of my career working on the observational aspects of black holes using radio telescopes, and hoping to continue that with the billion dollar Square Kilometre Array over the next decade, Stephen Hawking's work to understand the physics of black holes is close to my heart. Black holes were not truly black.

Hawking was born in Oxford, England, on what turned out to be an auspicious date: January 8, 1942 - the 300th anniversary of the death of astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei. The disease usually kills within three to five years. "I have three children, and three grandchildren so far".

Jane cared for Hawking for 20 years, until a grant from the United States paid for the 24-hour care he required.

He was inducted into the Royal Society in 1974 and received the Albert Einstein Award in 1978.

But his condition inevitably made him dependent on others.

His base of operations was Cambridge University in Britain, but he traveled widely around the world. His other children are Lucy Hawking and Timothy Hawking.

Hawking was married twice. Police found no evidence of any abuse. "I fell over and had great difficulty getting up", he told the audience.

"Despite my disability, I have managed to do most things I want", Hawking said.

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