Wednesday, 17 October 2018 | News today: 0

Stephen Hawking, cosmology’s brightest star, dies aged 76

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Professor Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76 – more than 50 years after he was given just two years to live, Daily Mail reports.

The world’s most celebrated scientist passed away peacefully at his home in Cambridge this morning after a long battle with motor neurone disease, his family has revealed.

His children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: ‘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

‘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 also said their father’s ‘courage, persistence, brilliance and humour inspired people across the world’ – shown in a recent poll that saw him voted the 25th greatest Briton of all time.

Professor Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 when he was 21 and he defied medical experts who said he would be dead within two years.

In the following 55 years he became the world’s most famous scientist since Albert Einstein for his work exploring the mysteries of space, time and black holes despite being wheelchair-bound and only able to communicate using a computer and his famous voice synthesizer.

University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope said today: ‘His exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and the popularisation of science and mathematics have left an indelible legacy. His character was an inspiration to millions’.

His most famous book ‘A Brief History of Time’ became an international bestseller with more than 10million copies sold – although the physicist joked himself that many who owned it never finished it and more struggled to understand its complexity.

The Cambridge-based scientist, who married twice, embraced popular culture appearing in The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek and was immortalised in the Oscar-winning biopic The Theory of Everything, where he was played by Eddie Redmayne.

He said he embraced popular culture because he wanted to make science more mainstream and encourage the world to ‘look up at the stars and not down at your feet’.

Stephen Hawking was a ‘a brilliant and extraordinary mind – one of the great scientists of his generation” whose “courage, humour and determination to get the most from life was an inspiration’, Prime Minister Theresa May said today on Twitter.