Acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. Believed to have died in the early morning of Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England, his death was confirmed by a family spokesperson. His official date of death was March 14, 2018.
According to ABC 15, at the age of 21, doctors only gave Hawking several years to live due to his early onset Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which limited him physically and confined him to a wheelchair, as it made him unable to move his limbs or speak, requiring him to use a synthesized voice. In addition to his scientific work, he had been an advocate for those with disabilities; United States President Barack Obama granted Hawking the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Probably one of the most famous scientists in the modern world, Hawking was a theoretical physicist whose work on black holes helped change the ways scientists think about the nature of the universe. In addition, his book, A Brief History of Time, first published in 1988, sold at least 10 million copies in 40 languages for a record 237 weeks.
Hawking’s life was the subject of the 2014 biographical film, The Theory of Everything, in which he was played by Eddie Redmayne, winning him an Academy Award; Hawking allowed his copyrighted synthesizer voice to be used for the film. In popular culture, he was also known for appearances made on episodes of The Simpsons, Futurama, The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
According to Bloomberg, Hawking’s children Lucy, Robert and Tim released the following statement:
“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 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.”
Fellow scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote on Twitter:
“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.”
What was Stephen Hawking’s official cause of death?
At this time, it is unclear what was Stephen Hawking’s official cause of death. According to ABC News, his family did not disclose his cause of death in a statement but claimed he “died peacefully.”
As this story is developing, more information will be updated as made available.