Health Desk: 14 March 2018: Stephen Hawking, the brightest star in the firmament of science, whose insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions, has died aged 76.
His family released a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirming his death at his home in Cambridge.
Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement: “We have 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 humor 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.' We will miss him forever."
For fellow scientists and loved ones, it was Hawking’s intuition and wicked sense of humor that marked him out as much as the fierce intellect which, coupled with his illness, came to symbolize the unbounded possibilities of the human mind.
Hawking’s first major breakthrough came in 1970 when he and Roger Penrose applied the mathematics of black holes to the universe and showed that a singularity, a region of infinite curvature in spacetime, lay in our distant past: the point from which came the big bang.
But it was A Brief History of Time that rocketed Hawking to stardom. It sold 10m copies and was translated into 40 different languages. Nevertheless, wags called it the greatest unread book in history.
He spoke also of death, an eventuality that sat on a more distant horizon than doctors thought. “I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” he said.
What astounded those around him was how much he did achieve. He leaves three children, Robert, Lucy, and Timothy, from his first marriage to Jane Wilde, and three grandchildren.