Acclaimed British theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking has died aged 76.
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today".
Professor Hawking's children in a statement described him as a great scientist and an extraordinary man, whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His grit and tenacity inspired people all over the world.
"This complete set of laws can give us the answers to questions like how did the universe begin", he said.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning, according to a statement from his family. 10News will continue to update as details become available.
Hawking said making the first moves into space would "elevate humanity" because it would have to involve many countries.
Hawking's celebrity status was acknowledged even by The Simpsons - he was depicted drinking at a bar with Homer, suggesting he might steal Homer's idea that the universe is shaped like a doughnut.
Hawking was born January 8, 1942, in Oxford, and grew up in London and St. Albans, northwest of the capital. Hawking first realized that something was wrong when he went ice skating with his mother one day, he recalled in a speech on his 75th birthday celebration past year. His belief in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics should make fans of time travel or concepts like the DC superhero multiverse take notice, too.
Hawking first earned prominence for his theoretical work on black holes.
While he was unable to attend the ceremony, Professor Hawking posted a touching message on Facebook to say: "Well done Eddie, I'm very proud of you". His books, particularly A Brief History of Time, became blockbuster successes. "I fell over and had great difficulty getting up", he told the audience. "But they are mostly things I don't particularly want to do anyway".
I remember the fuss when his book A Brief History of Time came out, and how it became such a big deal in the UK.
Then, grinning widely, he added, "I seem to manage to do anything that I really want".
Hawking's formidable mind probed the very limits of human understanding both in the vastness of space and in the weird sub-molecular world of quantum theory, which he said could predict what happens at the beginning and end of time. Instead, he said he believed objects could be spit out of black holes in a mangled form. The discovery led to a series of further innovations, including the proposal that black holes radiate heat.
Popular science comedy show The Big Bang Theory tweeted a photo of the cast with Stephen Hawking.
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