British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.
A spokesperson from the University of Cambridge, where he founded the Center for Theoretical Cosmology, confirmed that that the scientist died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge.
Best-Selling Author Of 'A Brief History of Time'
Hawking is known for his insights about space, time, and black holes, which he wrote about in his international bestseller A Brief History of Time.
The book was first published in 1988 and made it to the Guinness Book of Records when it stayed on the Sunday Times best-sellers list for 237 weeks. The book sold 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages.
"We find ourselves in a bewildering world. We want to make sense of what we see around us and to ask: What is the nature of the universe? What is our place in it and where did it and we come from? Why is it the way it is?" Hawking wrote on his book.
One Of The Biggest Science Celebrities Since Albert Einstein
"Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world," City University of New York theoretical physicist Michio Kaku described Hawking.
Hawking has worked on a "unified theory" that could resolve the conflicting ideas of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which is about the laws of gravity that govern the motion of planets and other large objects, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics that deals with subatomic particles.
The scientist said that a theory of everything would allow humanity to "know the mind of God." In later years, however, he suggested that this theory might not exist.
Inspiration To People With ALS
Hawking has helped shaped modern cosmology and inspired millions, despite being paralyzed by a motor neuron disease.
He was 21 when his body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He was given only two years to live when he was diagnosed of the disease, defying odds when he lived with the normally fatal condition for over 50 years.
In 1985, a severe pneumonia attack left him breathing through a tube and forced him to use an electronic voice synthesizer to communicate. Nonetheless, he continued with his scientific work.
Richard Green, of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said that Hawking inspired people with the disease for many years.
Hawking's children described him as a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose legacy will live on for a long time.
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim said. "His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world."