Rabat –The world’s prominent British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who devoted his life probing the secrets of the universe, passed away at the age of 76, in the university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning, March 14, according to a family spokesman.
“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,” Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim, said in a statement.
The cause of his death, which coincides with the 139th anniversary of the birth of Albert Einstein, has not yet been disclosed.
Considered by many to be an inspiration across the globe, Hawking defied predictions that he would only live for a few years after developing a neurodegenerative disease, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in his early 20s in 1964.
Hawking’s illness progressively deprived him of mobility and left him confined to a wheelchair, almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak except through his iconic voice synthesizer.
“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 family said.
Born on January 8, 1942, the well-regarded scientist was a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the worldwide bestseller “A Brief History of Time,” which has sold more than 10 million copies.
“A star just went out in the cosmos. We have lost an amazing human being,” Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, wrote on Twitter.
Forever pushing the bounds of his fascination with the nature of space and time, relativity and quantum theory, Hawking’s groundbreaking work aimed to give the world new insights into the creation of the universe.
“My goal is simple, it is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all,” he once said.