The world’s renowned British Physicist, Stephen Hawking, died at the age of 76, early on Wednesday morning at his house in Cambridge, confirmed his family members to international media.
In a statement, 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,” according to quotes from media reports.
“There is nothing bigger or older than the universe,” said Hawking in his opening speech in a TED talk explaining the universe’s initial state.
“Up until the 1920s, everyone thought the universe was essentially static and unchanging in time. Then, it was discovered that the universe was expanding. Distant galaxies were moving away from us.”
“This meant they must have been closer together in the past. If we extrapolate back, we find we must have all been on top of each other about 15 billion years ago. This was the Big Bang, the beginning of the universe,” proceeded Hawking.
Hawking is most famous for his work on black holes which he turned into a book under the same name. He is also the author of the best selling book “A Brief History of Time”.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the disease Hawking lived with throughout his life. It is “a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord,” according to ALS Association.
When the motor neurons die, the brain loses its ability to initiate and control muscle movement. “With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe,” further added the website.
Hawking had been diagnosed with the condition in 1963 and lived with it for more than 50 years.
According to an article published in The Guardian, doctors offered to turn off his life support machine when his health condition worsened while writing “A Brief History of Time”.
His wife, Jane, refused to end her husband’s life and demanded doctors in Switzerland return him to Cambridge. He, then, completed the book and sold 10 million copies, reported the Sunday Times.
Hawking’s life has been depicted in the film ‘The Theory of Everything’ directed by James Marsh and adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking”.