PROFESSOR Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, his family has confirmed.
The groundbreaking scientist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning, 55 years after he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease and given just two years to live.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” Hawking’s three children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement.
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“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of at the age of 76,” the family’s statement said.
“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 humour 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 for ever.”
The world-renowned English physicist and A Brief History of Time author was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963, at the young age of 21.
Incredibly, he went on to survive for more than half a century with the debilitating disease, despite having been told by doctors at the time that he only had two years to live.
Hawking was best known for his groundbreaking work with black holes and relativity, and his insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions.
He was also the subject of Oscar winning film The Theory of Everything in 2014 and performed several cameos in the US comedy series The Big Bang Theory.