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Stephen Hawking Dies Aged 76

World-renowned visionary physicist Stephen Hawking has died, aged 76.

His family released a statement by his children Lucy, Robert and Tim, stating that Hawking passed away peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of

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"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," they wrote. "He was  a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years." The statement went on to praise his inspiring qualities and ability to ignite hope in people around 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."

Hawking gained prominence for his work on black holes and relativity, going on to write numerous books on the subject. One of his most famous works was A Brief History of Time, released in 1988. As well as being one of the world's most brilliant minds, Hawking suffered from a rare form of motor neurone disease. He was diagnosed with the progressive illness when he was just 22 years old. At the time, doctors gave him just a few years to live—but he proved them wrong.

Although he was confined to a wheelchair and used a voice synthesiser to speak, he never stopped working. He was the first person to present a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics, implying that space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes, according to Einstein's general theory of relativity.

His sharp mind garnered him numerous accolades but also saw him become an important figure outside of academics. The professor made appearances in several popular TV shows, including The Simpsons, Red Dwarf, and The Big Bang Theory. In 2014, the story of his life was brought to the big screen in The Theory of Everything. Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his role as Hawking. The actor was among the first to pay tribute to the late scientist.

"We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet."

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

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