Despite battling motor neurone disease since the age of 21, Stephen Hawking became one of history's most influential theoretical physicists.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on March 14, 2018

World renowned physicist and author of ‘A Brief History of Time’, Professor Stephen Hawking has passed away aged 76.

His family released a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirming his death at his home in Cambridge.

Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a 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 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.”

He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, in 1963, and despite doctors giving him no longer than two years to live, he survived for more than half a century.

During that time he attained the most prestigious ‘chair’ in science — the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, and is now firmly regarded as one of history’s most brilliant minds.

His work on the laws that govern the universe, saw him become a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

He was also the subject of the 2014 film The Theory Of Everything, which starred Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

On the Hawking website, colleague James Hartle detailed the most important work they partnered in at Cambridge.

“Today, more than 25 years after its proposal, the no-boundary state has successfully explained the origin of classical spacetime, the origin of the detailed structure of the universe seen in the distribution of galaxies, and the arrows of time of the universe,” he said.

“Stephen, Thomas Hertog, and I are continuing to work to see how far the no boundary quantum state can go in explaining our quantum universe.”