Stephen Hawking, renowned British physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, has died at the age of 76.
According to reports, the professor died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Born on January 8, 1942, 300 years to the day after the death of the father of modern science, Galileo Galilee, he believed science was his destiny.
But fate dealt hawking a cruel hand.
Most of his life was spent in a wheelchair crippled by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neuron disease that attacks the nerves controlling voluntary movement.
Hawking predicted he would only live for a few years, overcoming its debilitating effects on his mobility and speech that left him paralysed and able to communicate only via a computer speech synthesiser.
“I am quite often asked how you feel about having ALS?” he once wrote. “The answer is, not a lot.
“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.”
Prof Hawking explained the Big Bang and black holes in his best-selling book A Brief History of Time.
Most of his work centred on bringing together relativity, the nature of space and time, and quantum theory using how the smallest particles in the Universe behave to explain the creation of the Universe and how it is governed.
Prof Hawking is the eldest of four children and went on to become one of the world’s most acclaimed cosmologists.