Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.
The world-famous physicist was told he had just two years to live at the age of 21 when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – which confined him to a wheelchair and left him unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.
And whilst Stephen managed to live much longer than his medically advised life expectancy, he finally lost his battle with his illness – which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles – during the early hours of Wednesday morning.
His family said in a statement: ”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. 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.”’
The scientist was best known for his work on black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including ‘A Brief History of Time’, which explained the mysteries of the universe in basic terms and sold over 10 million copies worldwide.