British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, a spokesman for his family reports. His best-selling book “A Brief History of Time” made him a household name, and sought to explain complex science to the masses. Ryan Brooks reports.
Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain some of the most complicated questions of life while working under the shadow of a likely premature death, has died at 76.
He died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement.
Hawking’s formidable mind probed the very limits of human understanding both in the vastness of space and in the bizarre sub-molecular world of quantum theory, which he said could predict what happens at the beginning and end of time.
His work ranged from the origins of the universe, through the tantalizing prospect of time travel to the mysteries of space’s all-consuming black holes.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” his family said. “His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world.”
The power of his intellect contrasted cruelly with the weakness of his body, ravaged by the wasting motor neuron disease he developed at the age of 21.
Hawking was confined for most of his life to a wheelchair. As his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesizer and communicating by moving his eyebrows.