Legendary physicist Stephen Hawking has died at age 76

Legendary British physicist and cultural icon Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. The announcement was made by his family who said he passed peacefully at his home in Cambridge, England.

The press release put out by his 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 humor 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.”

Born in Oxford to Frank and Isobel Hawking in 1942, Hawking was not the star student, not learning to properly read and write until the age of 8. Still, Hawking showed immense intelligence come his teenage year, earning him the nickname “Einstein” by friends, eventually starting at University College, Oxford at age 17.

During his graduate years, at age 21, Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neuron disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was given two and a half years to live. He of course proved those figures laughably wrong, and despite gradually worsening condition over the years, lived for over five decades. When he lost his ability to speak he began to communicate through a speech-generating machine that used an infrared device that analyzed his cheek movement and got around using a state-of-the-art wheelchair.

An esteemed cosmologist and physicists, Hawking received acclaim for his work in the realm of quantum mechanics, mainly by studying the nature and existence of black holes. He determined that black holes leaked emissions, and developed a famous equation that measures this phenomenon, which goes by the name Hawking radiation. He would also shoot to fame thanks to his book “A Brief History of Time” which has sold over 10 million copies and has since shot to the top of the bestseller list.

Hawking became a pop culture icon as well, making appearances on TV shows like STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, THE SIMPSONS, FUTURAMA, THE BIG BANG THEORY and more. His life was depicted in the Oscar-winning movie THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, with actor Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor for his work. Many celebrities took to social media to share their thought on the scientist, including famous scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Kumail Nanjiani, Brie Larson, John Oliver, George Takei and more.

Redmayne also issued a statement, saying, "We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family."

Benedict Cumberbatch, who also played Hawking in the BBC TV movie HAWKING, released this statement:

I was so sad to hear that Stephen has died. I feel so lucky to have known such a truly great man who's profundity was found both in his work and the communication of that work. Both in person and in books. He virtually created the publishing genre of popular science. A heroic feat to bring the wondrous complexities of the universe to all outside of specialists in this field. But truly courageous when considering it was achieved by a man who lived a life trapped in his body from the age of 21 when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. His support of the sciences, art, education and the NHS and charities such as the MND foundation will also live on as will his wickedly funny sense of humor. I will miss our margaritas but will raise one to the stars to celebrate your life and the light of understanding you shone so brightly on them for the rest of us. You were and are a true inspiration for me and for millions around the world. Thank you.

Hawking is a man beyond measure, who defied all the odds and used his mind to inspire, enlighten and make the world a much more astounding place to live. His life and work will live into the future as countless generations look up at a starry night sky and sees nothing but endless possibiltiy.

"One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away.” – Stephen Hawking.

Source: BBCTHR



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