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Stephen Hawking dies, world loses its brightest star

IANS  |  London/New Delhi 

Renowned British Stephen Hawking, who shaped modern cosmology and inspired millions despite suffering from a life-threatening condition, died on Wednesday. He was 76.

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

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," Hawking's children said in a statement.

"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 statement added.

is survived by three children -- Robert, and -- from his first marriage to Jane Wilde, and three grandchildren.

was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England.

Known the world over for his acclaimed book "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes", was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- a progressive neuro-degenerative disease -- in 1963 at age 21, newspaper said.

Hawking's doctors gave him nearly two years to live but he defied the medical history and survived for decades.

For the rest of his life, the used a wheelchair to move around and a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerised voice with an American accent.

For Hawking, the early diagnosis of his terminal disease ignited a fresh sense of purpose.

"Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research," he once said, the paper reported.

"My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all," Hawking added.

With fellow Roger Penrose, Hawking merged Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum theory, suggesting that space and time began with Big Bang and end in black holes.

In 1974, Hawking proposed what is known as his most significant theory that black holes can emit sub-atomic particles.

Published for the first time in 1988, "A Brief History of Time" stayed on bestsellers list for an unprecedented 237 weeks. It sold 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages.

Hailed as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein, Hawking never won a Nobel Prize.

In India, Ram Nath Kovind, and Minister condoled the demise of Hawking.

"Sad to hear of the passing of His brilliant mind made our world and our universe a less mysterious place. And his courage and resilience will remain an inspiration for generations," Kovind said in a tweet.

Modi also took to to pay tribute to Hawking and said: "was an outstanding and academic".

The US space agency NASA tweeted: "Remembering Stephen Hawking, a of His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014".

"We lost a great one today. will be remembered for his incredible contributions to -- making complex theories and concepts more accessible to the masses," tweeted

The physicist's inspiring story gave birth to the 2014 movie "The Theory of Everything," which was based on a memoir by Hawking's first wife Wilde.

Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of Hawking in the film won him an for Best

Hollywood stars paid their condolences to Hawking.

While remembers him as a "ladies man", the official account of "The Big Bang Theory", a TV series that witnessed appearances of the famed professor, also remembered him.



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 12:20 IST