British scientist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

British scientist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and author of "A Brief History of Time", died in the early hours of Wednesday at the age of 76.

The family noted that he died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, England. "He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years", the family said in a statement. "His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world", they said.

The love story between Hawking and Wilde was retold in the 2014 film "The Theory of Everything", which won Britain's Eddie Redmayne the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of the scientist.

The Telegraph previously wrote of how, in 1962, when Stephen Hawking turned 21, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, which doctors said would probably kill him within a few years.

Besides books, scholarships and lectures, Hawking has made guest appearances in live action and cartoon TV shows such as "The Simpsons, " "Futurama", "The Big Bang Theory" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

He went on to become a researcher at the University of Cambridge and Professorial Fellow at the Gonville and Caius College. He said Hawking had been an inspiration to people with the disease for many years. "My goal is simple", he once said. In fact, Hawking's work suggests that an isolated black hole would slowly evaporate away and cease to exist.

However, in 1974, he theorized what is now known as Hawking radiation, the radical notion that matter can escape from the grip of a black hole.

Horowitz said the find helped move scientists one step closer to cracking the unified theory.

Born on January 8, 1942 - 300 years to the day after the death of the father of modern science, Galileo Galilei - he believed science was his destiny. But Hawking had a form of the disease that progressed more slowly than usual.

One of his sons, Robert, has worked as a software engineer at Microsoft. He retired from his chair as Lucasian Professor in 2009 and took up a research position with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario.

Conversing with Hawking was an interesting experience, often Easther and other physicists would be talking shop and Hawking would chime in on something that had been said a minute or so ago, "ping-ponging" the conversation back.

In the book he related how he was first diagnosed: "I felt it was very unfair - why should this happen to me", he wrote.