Stephen Hawking, the brilliant British theoretical physicist who overcame a debilitating disease to publish wildly popular books probing the mysteries of the universe, has died, according to a family spokesman. He was 76.
According to ABC News, the family did not disclose the cause of death, but said he “died peacefully” at his home in Cambridge, England.
Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking later went on to become a pioneer theoretical physicist and a known cosmologist of our times. He was also the Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge.
His theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation earned the name Hawking Radiation. A supporter of the many-world’s interpretation of quantum mechanics, he set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.
Hawking had authored A Brief History of Time which went to to become an international bestseller. His other book for the general reader include A Briefer History of Time, the essay collection Black Holes and Baby Universe and The Universe in a Nutshell.An early onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative motor neuron disease, gradually paralysed him over the decades. He communicated using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech geenrating device.
He has also co-authored children’s book, George’s Secret Key to the Universe, with his daughter Lucy Hawking and Christophe Galfard in 2007. The sequels, George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, George and the Big Bang, George and the Unbreakable Code and George and the Blue Moon followed in the later years.
Hawking was married to Jane Wilde from 1965 till their divorce in 1995. Following the divorce, he married Elaine Mason, his nurse, which also ended in 2006. After the divorce, he continued a cordial relation with his first wife and their three children.