Physicist Stephen Hawking dies
World-renowned scientist Professor Stephen Hawking, best known for his work on black holes, has died at the age of 76.
The British physicist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in England early Wednesday morning, after complications due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
Reuters He was the author of several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
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 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.”
Hawking 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 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
A Cambridge University professor, 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.
Hawking used his position as one of the world’s most famous scientists as a platform to discuss a wide range of issues, from the existence of extraterrestrial life to the nature of philosophy.
He skyrocketed to public prominence in 1988, when he published his first general-audience book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. The cosmology treatise has sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling science books of all time.