Stephen Hawking dies, world loses its brightest star

Mr Hawking first gained attention with his 1988 book

Mr Hawking first gained attention with his 1988 book"A Brief History of Time

The renowned British physicist, who was one of the world's finest scientific minds, died on Wednesday at the age of 76.

His children Lucy, Robert and Tim said they were deeply saddened by their father's passing. "He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years", the family said in a statement. His grit and tenacity inspired people all over the world. "He once said, aIt 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.

Hawking died in the early morning of Wednesday, March 14 at his home in Cambridge, England. 10News will continue to update as details become available. Hawking's most recent high-profile trip to Seattle came in 2012.

Hawking also recognised the enormous potential of the universe to be teeming with life and the advances in technology that might permit its detection in the near future.

Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford on 8 January 1942.

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

Although physicians initially gave him just a few years to live, his disease advanced more slowly than expected.

He was also the subject of a 2013 documentary, "Hawking", in which he reflected on his life: "Because every day could be my last, I have the desire to make the most of each and every minute".

"I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many", he wrote on his website.

In 2007, he became the first quadriplegic to experience weightlessness on board the so-called "vomit comet", a modified plane specially created to simulate zero gravity. Disproving the belief that black holes are so dense that nothing could escape their gravitational pull, he showed that black holes leak a tiny bit of light and other types of radiation, now known as "Hawking radiation".

In September 2016 Hawking joined 375 "concerned" scientists in penning an open letter criticizing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing the threat of climate change and blasting his push for the USA to leave the Paris Accord.

"Stephen Hawking, confined to a wheel chair, had thoughts flicker in his brain that changed the world more than entire generations of modern politicians". Even more shocking to researchers was the fact that Hawking radiation should erase information from the Universe, in apparent contradiction to some of the basic tenets of quantum theory, as Hawking pointed out in 1976. Black holes were not truly black.

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