Physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76
Physicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative, New York, April 12, 2016. (File photo) (Reuters Archive)
Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain some of the most complicated questions of life while himself working under the shadow of a likely premature death, has died at 76.
The UK’s Press Association reported his death, citing a spokesman for the family.
Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralysed by disease, died early on Wednesday, a University of Cambridge spokesman said.
He died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement.
Hawking’s formidable mind probed the very limits of human understanding, both in the vastness of space and in the bizarre sub-molecular world of quantum theory, which he said could predict what happens at the beginning and end of time.
His work ranged from the origins of the universe itself, through the tantalising prospect of time travel to the mysteries of space’s all-consuming black holes.
But the power of his intellect contrasted cruelly with the weakness of his body, ravaged by the wasting motor neurone disease he contracted at the age of 21.
Hawking was confined for most of his life to a wheelchair. As his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesiser and communicating by moving his eyebrows.
TRT World’s Philip Owira reports.
Publications by Hawking
The disease spurred him to work harder but also contributed to the collapse of his two marriages, he wrote in a 2013 memoir My Brief History.
In the book he related how he was first diagnosed: “I felt it was very unfair – why should this happen to me.” he wrote.
A star just went out in the cosmos. We have lost an amazing human being. Stephen Hawking fought and tamed the cosmos bravely for 76 years and taught us all something importantabout what it truly means to celebrate about being human. I will miss him.
— Lawrence M. Krauss (@LKrauss1) March 14, 2018
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018