Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away at age 76 on March 14, 2018. Famous for his work with black holes and relativity — and bestselling books such as A Brief History of Time ($12.29, Amazon) — the British scientist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, his family said.
Though he was one of the greatest scientists of his generation, Hawking was once not expected to live past age 25. When Hawking was 22, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that weakens voluntary muscles and impacts physical function.
It didn't take long for Hawking's bodily control to be limited to the flexing of a finger and voluntary eye movements, so he needed to be in a wheelchair at all times and spoke by using a voice synthesizer. That said, his mental capabilities had not changed one bit. He proved all his doctors wrong by not only surviving — but thriving.
Hawking went on to make massive accomplishments in his field — such as discovering that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing. This phenomenon was later named after him as "Hawking radiation." For his tireless work, he was was awarded countless accolades and medals, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Albert Einstein Award.
Beyond the math and science communities, Hawking was also celebrated in pop culture, often appearing on TV shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons. In 2014, the film The Theory of Everything was released about Hawking’s life to huge success. Starring Eddie Redmayne as Hawking, the film went on to win an Academy Award.
He was also a loving father of three children — Lucy Robert, and Tim — who shared a beautiful tribute to him in a statement after his death.
The statement read: "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.' We will miss him forever."
We're keeping his family and loved ones in our thoughts during this difficult time.