Professor Stephen Hawking dies aged 76.

Stephen Hawking
NASA StarChild image of Professor Stephen Hawking.

World-renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has died aged 76.

Famed for his work on black holes and relativity, for 54 years he lived with a rare form of motor neurone disease, which left him wheelchair-bound and unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.

Following his original diagnosis, he was given only a few years to live, but he went on to live for many years with his book, A Brief History of Time selling more than 10 million copies.

He became Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge,and his scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation.

Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and became famous worldwide, even beyond the world of science, appearing in a number of television shows including Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.

His life story was portrayed on film and TV. In 2014’s The Theory of Everything, Hawking was played by Eddie Redmayne.

Following news of his passing, his family paid tribute to “an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years”