Late Tuesday night the family of Stephen Hawking announced that the physicist has passed away at the age of 76. After contracting motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 1963, he was told by doctors that he had two years to live but survived for more than half a century. Awarded more than a dozen honorary degrees, Hawking theorized that black holes emitted a form of thermal radiation, and contributed to work trying to unify Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum physics.
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.
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."