Gifted physicist & cosmologist Prof. Stephen Hawking, who presented ground-breaking scientific documentaries, has died aged 76.
He died at home in Cambridge UK, his family announced.
“His family have kindly requested that they be given the time and privacy to mourn his passing, but they would like to thank everyone who has been by Professor Hawking’s side — and supported him — throughout his life,” a statement said.
In 1963 Professor Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and was given two years to live.
He went on to become a researcher at the University of Cambridge and Professorial Fellow at the Gonville and Caius College.
He was a Lucasian Professor at the university from 1979 to 2009, a position previously held by Isaac Newton in 1663.
His was dubbed one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein.
His work ranged from the origins of the universe itself, through the tantalising prospect of time travel to the mysteries of space’s all-consuming black holes.
But the power of his intellect contrasted cruelly with the weakness of his body, ravaged by the wasting motor neurone disease he contracted at the age of 21, confined for most of his life to a wheelchair.
In television Hawking presented several documentaries including Stephen Hawking and the Theory of Everything, Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe, Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, Brave New World with Stephen Hawking, Genius by Stephen Hawking and made numerous television appearances, notably on The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek: The Next Generation, plus voice work on Futurama and The Simpsons.
He was also the subject of feature films including The Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayn, and BBC’s 2004 bio Hawking starring Benedict Cumberbatch.