English physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking dead at 76

Pablo Tucker
March 14, 2018

Known the world over for his acclaimed book "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes", Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - a progressive neuro-degenerative disease - in 1963 at age 21.

His 1988 book "A Brief History of Time" became an global bestseller and brought him widespread fame.

Considered by many to have been the world's greatest living scientist, Prof Hawking was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the bestseller A Brief History of Time. "May his soul rest in peace", the prime minister said on Twitter.

Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76, the Daily Mail reports.

His children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement, "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today". However, with the use of technology, he was able to communicate without much difficulty.

The illness left him wheelchair-bound and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser - with its computerised American accent achieving iconic status in recent decades, partly thanks to his numerous appearances on The Simpsons.

Doctors predicted he would only live a few years, but he instead thrived, focusing on his work that included seeking to bridge the gap between Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity that describes the motion of large objects and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics dealing with subatomic particles.

"I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many", he wrote on his website. "People who annoyed him, it was said, found themselves a target". His first life partner was Jane Wilde, a fellow student at Cambridge with whom Hawking lived with for 28 years.

Hawking discovered the phenomenon which became known as Hawking radiation, where black holes leak energy and fade to nothing.

In May last year, Hawking warned that humans should leave earth within 100 years if we wanted to survive. The couple split after 25 years and he married his former nurse, Elaine Mason, but the union broke down amid allegations, denied by him, of abuse.

Newton was a previous holder of that prestigious post. "If we find the answers to these questions, we really shall know the mind of God".

He also appeared as himself in an episode of the BBC comedy series, Red Dwarf and as a hologram of his image in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Beyond scientific debate Hawking also weighed into politics, describing Donald Trump as "a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator" ahead of his election as U.S. president.

Hawking's seminal contributions continued through the 1980s.

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