Stars and scientists lead tributes to Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76

Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough
Richard Ovenden (Bodley's Librarian), Professor Stephen Hawking and Sir David Attenborough at the official opening of the Weston Library, Oxford, England, in March 2015. Photo: John Cairns (CC BY 4.0)

Tributes have been paid to Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s finest scientific minds, who died today aged 76.

US space agency Nasa acknowledged his influence on the world of physics saying his “theories unlocked a universe of possibilities” and describing his an an “ambassador of science”.

Professor Brian Cox celebrated Professor Hawking’s “remarkable life”, adding: “His contributions to science will be used as long as there are scientists, and there are many more scientists because of him. He spoke about the value and fragility of human life and civilisation and greatly enhanced both.”

UK Defence Minister, Tobias Ellwood, said Professor Hawking was “an inspiration to us all, whatever our station in life, to reach for the stars” while London’s Science Museum described him as “a passionate advocate for science, a friend of the museum and inspired millions to wonder.”

Tony Blair’s former spin doctor and editor-at-large for the New European Alastair Campbell praised Hawking’s “passionate defence of the NHS”.

Lawrence M. Krauss lamented a “star just went out in the cosmos” and fellow astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Tweeted: “his passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake”.

From the celebrity world, chat show host Jonathan Ross lamented that humankind was significantly down on intelligence points following the scientist’s death while Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin said not only was he a “genius”, but also his favourite Simpsons character.

Stylist and presenter Gok Wan Tweeted the scientist’s death left “the universe is very much less complete”.