The world-renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.
He was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular books including A Brief History of Time.
Prof Hawking’s children Lucy, Robert, and Tim confirmed in a statement that the physicist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge early this morning.
The family 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.”
At the age 22 and during his post-graduate studies at Trinity Hall in Cambridge, Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.
He spent decades in a wheelchair, and in later years could only speak through specially developed speech software & hardware which translated his hand – and later cheek muscle – movements.
His most famous book – A Brief History of Time – is credited with making complex scientific ideas accessible for a wider audience, and sold more than 10 million copies.
He also became a well-known figure in popular culture, appearing in cameos for TV shows such as The Simpsons.
A biopic of his life – The Theory of Everything – was released in early 2015.
There have been widespread tributes to Prof Hawking this morning, including from prominent figures and organisations from the world of science.