Physi­cist, au­thor was cel­e­brated world­wide

The Columbus Dispatch - - Not To Be Missed - By Joel Achen­bach and Boyce Rens­berger

Stephen W. Hawk­ing, the Bri­tish the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist who, de­spite a dev­as­tat­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­ease, probed the great­est mys­ter­ies of the cos­mos and be­came a glob­ally cel­e­brated sym­bol of the power of the hu­man mind, has died, a fam­ily spokesman told the As­so­ci­ated Press. He was 76.

"He was a great sci­en­tist and an ex­tra­or­di­nary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," his chil­dren, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a state­ment. De­tails of when and where Hawk­ing died weren't re­leased.

Un­able to move a mus­cle and speech­less but for a com­puter-syn­the­sized voice, Hawk­ing had suf­fered since the age of 21 from a de­gen­er­a­tive mo­tor-neu­ron dis­ease sim­i­lar to Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease.

Ini­tially given two years to live, a di­ag­no­sis that threw him into a pro­found de­pres­sion, he found the strength to com­plete his doc­tor­ate and rise to the po­si­tion of Lu­casian pro­fes­sor of math­e­mat­ics at the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, the same post held by Isaac New­ton 300 years ear­lier.

Hawk­ing even­tu­ally be­came one of the planet’s most renowned sci­en­tists, trav­el­ing the world and meet­ing with pres­i­dents. He wrote an in­ter­na­tional best seller, “A Brief His­tory of Time,” in 1988. His blunt 2013 me­moir, “My Brief His­tory,” ex­plored his devel­op­ment in science as well as his tur­bu­lent mar­riages. In ad­di­tion, Hawk­ing was the sub­ject of a 1991 doc­u­men­tary, “A Brief His­tory of Time,” and a movie, "The The­ory of Every­thing," in 2014.

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