Physicist Stephen Hawking died at his home in Cambridge, England, early Wednesday morning, a family member confirmed to the BBC.
He was 76 years old.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” his children shared.
Professor Stephen Hawking speaks during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics at the Olympic Stadium on August 29, 2012 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” a statement from the family read. “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 diagnosed with a form of a neurological disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 22, confining him to a wheelchair and forcing him to speak via a synthesizer.
Hawking’s early work on black holes completely changed the way scientists viewed the nature of the universe, according to National Public Radio.
His 1998 book “A Brief History Of Time” was a bestseller.
He was also the subject of a 2014 biopic about his life called “The Theory of Everything.” Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking in the film won him an Academy Award.
Shortly after news broke of his death, NASA tweeted that his “theories unlocked a universe of possibilities.”
“Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014,” NASA tweeted.
Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014 pic.twitter.com/FeR4fd2zZ5
— NASA (@NASA) March 14, 2018
He leaves behind three children from his first marriage to Jane Wilde and three grandchildren.