Famed physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

(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:

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