British physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking died, aged 76, at his residence in Cambridge on Wednesday, a family spokesperson said. He died “peacefully” in the early hour of Wednesday.
“We have deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today” Professor Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement carried by Britain’s Press Association news agency.
“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.” They said.
Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was confined to an electric wheelchair for much of his adult life. Diagnosed at age 21, he was one of the world’s longest survivors of ALS.
“A Brief History Of Time” first published in 1988, earned its author worldwide acclaim, selling at least 10 million copies in 40 languages and staying on the best-seller list of the U.K.’s Sunday Times newspaper for a record 237 weeks.
Often referred to as “one of the most unread books of all time” for the hard-to-grasp concepts, it included only one equation: E = mc2 or the equivalence of mass and energy, deduced by Einstein from his theory of special relativity. The book outlined the basics of cosmology for the general reader.
Hawking redefined cosmology by proposing that black holes emit radiation and later evaporate. He also showed that the universe had a beginning by describing how Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity eventually breaks down when time and space are traced back to the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago.
The loss of such an amazing person isn’t just limited to the family but the entire world, especially the life of physicists.