The famed physicist and cosmologist that transcended space and time, Stephen Hawking, has passed away, at age 76, in Cambridge, England, via a statement from his family.
“We are deeply saddened that our father passed away today,” The Hawking children Lucy, Robert and Tim said. “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.”
He was born in 1942 in Oxford, England, and was best known for his discoveries in black hole phenomena and theories of relativity. His best-selling book to date is still 1988’s A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. He was diagnosed with a slow-progressing and extremely rare form of ALS when he was just 21-years-old, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was given just a handful of years to live, but clearly surpassed that mark, but the disease did leave him paralyzed in confinement to a wheelchair. After a tracheotomy, he developed the ability to communicate through a computer with voice-synthesizing capabilities.
He was not only a scientist, but a celebrity, having appeared on several television shows like The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory, among others, and even had a movie adapted based on his life with then-first wife Jane Wilde, The Theory of Everything. He was also subject to numerous documentaries, co-wrote a series of children’s books and authored roughly 15 books, all of which is historically captured in his 2013 memoir, My Brief History.
Prominent figures from the world of entertainment, science and politics were all quick in reacting to the news on social media. Tributes continue to flood social for the award-winning scientist, though, one of the best ones came via Big Bang Theory costar Mayim Bialik, who said, “As we near Pi day (3.14) I join the global community in mourning the loss of the greatest physicist of our era. #StephenHawking is free from the physical constraints of this earthly condition we all exist in and he is soaring above us now marveling at it all.”