Professor Stephen Hawking has died aged 76 (8 January 1942–14 March 2018) - his family has confirmed, according to the BBC.
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."
JUST IN: Professor Stephen Hawking has died, spokesperson for the family says. pic.twitter.com/DncfApuXNw
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 14, 2018
Dr. Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. He is known for his groundbreaking work with black holes and relativity, and is the author of several iconic science books including 'A Brief History of Time' which has sold 10 million copies till date.
Hawking discovered the phenomenon which became known as Hawking radiation (1974), where black holes leak energy and fade to nothing. He was renowned for his extraordinary capacity to visualise scientific solutions without calculation or experiment.
But it was perhaps his "theory of everything", suggesting that the universe evolves according to well-defined laws, that attracted most attention.
"This complete set of laws can give us the answers to questions like how did the universe begin," he said. "Where is it going and will it have an end? If so, how will it end? If we find the answers to these questions, we really shall know the mind of God."
At age 21, while studying cosmology at the University of Cambridge, he was diagnosed with a motor neurone disease. Hawking had a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that gradually paralysed him over the decades. He was still able to communicate using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device.
He once wrote that he had motor neurone disease for practically all his adult life but said that it had not stopped him having an attractive family and being successful in his work. "It shows," he said, "that one need not lose hope."
One of Professor Stephen Hawking’s last predictions were his warning against Artificial Intelligence. In an interview to the BBC in January this year, Hawking warned that artificial intelligence could spell the end for the human race. Hawking was speaking after the launch of a new software system designed to help him communicate more easily, he said there were many benefits to new technology but also some risks.
The English physicist who wrote A Brief History of Time was the subject of Oscar winning film The Theory of Everything in 2014.