Physicist, author was celebrated worldwide
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.