World famous physicist, Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76 in his Cambridge home on Wednesday, CNN reported.
The Briton was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books, including ‘A Brief History of Time’.
In a statement, his children said: “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.”
They praised his “courage and persistence” and said 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.”
Hawking was confined to a wheelchair for the most part of his life as a result of neuron disease he contracted at the age of 21. But the condition spurred him to work harder as he wrote in a 2013 memoir “My Brief History.”
“At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realize the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life.”
He shot to international fame after the 1988 publication of “A Brief History of Time”, described as one of the most complex books ever to achieve mass appeal, which stayed on the Sunday Times best-sellers list for no fewer than 237 weeks, according to Reuters. Hawking said he wrote the book to convey his own excitement over recent discoveries about the universe.
"My original aim was to write a book that would sell on airport bookstalls,” he told reporters at the time.
“In order to make sure it was understandable I tried the book out on my nurses. I think they understood most of it.”
He was particularly proud that the book contains only one mathematical equation – relativity’s famous E=MC squared.
His popular recognition became such that he appeared as himself on the television show “Star Trek: Next Generation” and his cartoon caricature appeared on “The Simpsons”.
A 2014 film, The Theory of Everything, with Eddie Redmayne playing Hawking, charted the onset of his illness and his early life as the brilliant student grappling with black holes and the concept of time.
Reuters reported that since 1974 he worked extensively on marrying the two cornerstones of modern physics – Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which concerns gravity and large-scale phenomena, and quantum theory, which covers subatomic particles.
As a result of that research, Hawking proposed a model of the universe based on two concepts of time:” real time”, or time as human beings experience it, and “quantum theory’s “imaginary time”, on which the world may really run.