A BBC report quoted his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, as saying: "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."
The Guardian's report said: "The brightest star in the firmament of science, whose insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions", died in at his home in Cambridge.
"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 forever," his children said.
Born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 at the age of 21.
Doctors expected him to live for only two more years. But Hawking had a form of the disease that progressed more slowly than usual. He survived for more than half a century and long enough for his disability to define him.
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