(KGTV) - World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76, according to a family spokesman.
10News' ABC affiliate in Los Angeles shared this statement from Hawking's children:
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.
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."
Hawking died in the early morning of March 14, at his home in Cambridge, England.
The brilliant British theoretical physicist overcame the debilitating disease ALS to publish wildly popular books probing the mysteries of the universe. Considered by many to be the world's greatest living scientist, Hawking was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books, including the landmark "A Brief History of Time," which has sold more than 10 million copies.
Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, which is usually fatal within a few years, in 1963 when he was 21 years old. Doctors initially only gave him a few years to live.
The disease left Hawking wheelchair-bound and paralyzed. He was able to move only a few fingers on one hand and was completely dependent on others or on technology for virtually everything -- bathing, dressing, eating, even speech.
Hawking used a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerized voice with an American accent.
Shortly after the announcement of his death, social media began to respond with words of respect and admiration, and other tributes:
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
R.I.P. Stephen Hawking. Among his many profound contributions to this world was this simple sentiment: “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking once said, "I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first." RIP Professor Hawking, and may we all strive to live as fully as he did.
— Andrew Ng (@AndrewYNg) March 14, 2018
Professor Stephen Hawking 1942-2018 - a video tribute https://t.co/DzwjZII2RL
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) March 14, 2018
Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014 pic.twitter.com/FeR4fd2zZ5
— NASA (@NASA) March 14, 2018
there’s a big black hole in my heart hours before Pi day. Rest In Peace @Steven_Hawking... See you in the next ❤️
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 14, 2018
Farewell to Stephen Hawking, the most intelligent guest star in the brief history of The Simpsons pic.twitter.com/po3fIHgEdh
— Matt Selman (@mattselman) March 14, 2018
— Al Jean (@AlJean) March 14, 2018
I just heard about Stephen Hawking's passing. He was both a genius and my favorite Simpsons character. We'll miss you, buddy.
— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) March 14, 2018
A new star is in the heavens tonight. Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking. Your advice and wisdom live on. pic.twitter.com/RqUjo4qQa8
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) March 14, 2018
Our world has lost a shining light. Stephen Hawking defied expectation. Blessed with a brilliant mind and uncommon grace, he opened so many minds to the wonders of our universe. Courageous and unbowed by adversity, he believed deeply in the power reason. May he rest in peace.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) March 14, 2018
It was truly such an honor getting to work with the incredible Stephen Hawking.. He made us laugh and we made him laugh. His life and career workings have been many a subject matter on @thebigbangtheory__ and we are all better for it. You will be missed but the world is grateful for the knowledge and courage you leave in your path. Thank you for being an inspiration to everyone 🙏🏼 #stephenhawking ♥️