Stephen Hawking, the brilliant British theoretical physicist who overcame a debilitating disease to shape modern cosmology and change the way we observe the universe, has died at the age of 76. A family spokesperson confirmed Professor Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of 14 March. Professor Hawking's children,...

Stephen Hawking, the brilliant British theoretical physicist who overcame a debilitating disease to shape modern cosmology and change the way we observe the universe, has died at the age of 76.

A family spokesperson confirmed Professor Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of 14 March.

Professor Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: “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 forever.”

The renowned physicist was born in Oxfordshire in 1942. He went on to study at both the University of Oxford and Cambridge before being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22, and given just a few years to live.

He eventually became confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication.

Despite this, he continued to travel the world giving lectures and writing scientific papers about the basic laws that govern the universe. Prof Hawking explained the Big Bang and black holes in his best-selling book A Brief History Of Time.

Professor Hawking’s passing comes almost a year to the day since he was presented with the Honorary Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his outstanding contribution to theoretical physics and cosmology at a ceremony at Guildhall.

Professor Hawking delivered a keynote speech to City dignitaries and the Court of Common Council, before answering questions submitted by students from the City’s schools and academies.

The City Corporation joined the chorus of tributes that poured in, posting on Twitter: “A remarkable man with a formidable intellect, incredible determination and a keen sense of humour. He will be greatly missed.”

 

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