Physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, a family spokesperson said, according to BBC News.
The family released a statement saying Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," Hawking's three children said in a statement. "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.
Read the entire statement below:
JUST IN: Professor Stephen Hawking has died, spokesperson for the family says. pic.twitter.com/DncfApuXNw— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 14, 2018
Hawking’s legacy includes being one of the world’s most famous scientists. His theories on how the universe began received worldwide acclaim when he published them in the 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” according to BuzzFeed News.
Hawking developed a motor neuron disease in the 1960s that required him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Hawking’s fame went mainstream in more recent years. He appeared in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The Simpsons.” In 2015, Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking in the film, “The Theory of Everything.”
Twitter reacted to Hawking’s death immediately, making the famous physicist the top trending item worldwide in a matter of minutes.
The world has lost a beautiful mind and a brilliant scientist. RIP Stephen Hawking— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 14, 2018
Hawking was my inspiration to become not just a scientist but also a communicator of that science. His contributions to science, literature and inspirational presence to generations are without measure. My heartfelt sympathies to his friends and family https://t.co/XAUkxRND4k— Alan Duffy (@astroduff) March 14, 2018
Just sitting here absolutely shattered about Stephen Hawking.— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) 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
One of the greatest minds our species has ever produced is returned to the stars. It is a great loss to the scientific community. He was a hero to so many. Stephen Hawking, let us honor your work by respecting always the importance of scientific inquiry. https://t.co/BuNaEUrcer— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) 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
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
Farewell Stephen Hawking. A great man. Honored to have spent time with him. RIP.— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) March 14, 2018
Shout out to Stephen Hawking. The universe was lucky to have you.— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at 21 & given just 2 years to live. Not only did he defy the odds for 52 years, even as his body failed him, his mind soared. I hope his meeting with the Universe was beyond even his wildest imagining.— Caissie St.Onge (@Caissie) 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
RIP Stephen Hawking - A brilliant man who will no doubt go down in human history as another in a long line of misquoted geniuses in memes on social media.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking was always one of those “pillar people” in life. Not as ephemeral as a celebrity or a politician. Someone who seemed eternal; you assumed he existed before and after you. And in a way, he absolutely will.— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) March 14, 2018
RIP Stephen Hawking.— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking has died tonight. A man who inspired the best in us, he leaves behind a huge scientific legacy and this quote on Trump: “He’s a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”— Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione) March 14, 2018
R.I.P. to Stephen Hawking. Losing him is truly a loss to all humanity, but his contributions will never be forgotten. He’s now amongst the stars.— William LeGate (@williamlegate) March 14, 2018
"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." - Stephen Hawking— Jess Phoenix ️ (@jessphoenix2018) March 14, 2018
May the universe be forever brightened by your light. Science and humanity are both better for you having joined us in this life. ⚛️
“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. Do not give up”— Adam Catterall (@AdamCatterall) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking Rest In Peace
I rarely cry at the death of people I don’t know personally, but the announcement of the passing of Stephen Hawking just brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful genius this earth has lost.— Dana Goldberg (@DGComedy) March 14, 2018
We owe an enormous amount of the discoveries made in modern physics to Stephen Hawking. As lovers of science, we are sad to hear about this loss. RIP, Mr. Hawking.— Nerdist (@nerdist) March 14, 2018
It had to happen, eventually. We were lucky to have him for so long, and I was lucky to be able to work with him. A truly fabulous human being. Stephen Hawking. Funny, perverse, and, of course, brilliant.— errolmorris (@errolmorris) March 14, 2018
World renown Physicist Stephen Hawking has died at age 76. He was the smartest human on the planet. Retweet to thank him for his contribution to science and technology to the world. pic.twitter.com/C4WSLhsNMd— Oliver McGee PhD MBA (@OliverMcGee) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking inspired me before ALS - to keep asking questions, seeking answers, and understanding the cosmic perspective. But since ALS, he saved my life with his example - people diagnosed with ALS can continue to live productive & purposeful lives for decades.— Steve Gleason (@SteveGleason) March 14, 2018