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Stephen Hawking, Legendary Physicist, Dead at 76

Stephen Hawking, Legendary Physicist, Dead at 76
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Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge theoretical physicist portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in an Oscar-winning performance in the 2014 film "The Theory of Everything," has died. He was 76.

A family spokesman confirmed the news in a statement, confirming that Hawking had died Wednesday at home.

His children — Lucy, Robert and Tim — said in a statement, "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 for ever.”

Hawking, famed for his work on the subject of black holes and for his outspoken political views, was diagnosed with a rare form of ALS in 1963. He was expected to live two years, but instead survived another 55 years, confined to a wheelchair. He communicated via a distinctive synthetic voice.

In 1988, Hawking's book "A Brief History of Time" made him an international celebrity. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2009.

Along with his three children, Hawking is survived by three grandchildren.

After news broke about his death, many stars, including Redmayne, mourned his passing.

In a statement to People magazine, Eddie said, "We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family."

Benedict Cumberbatch added, "I feel so lucky to have known such a truly great man [whose] profundity was found both in his work and the communication of that work. Both in person and in books. He virtually created the publishing genre of popular science. A heroic feat to bring the wondrous complexities of the universe to all outside of specialists in this field. But truly courageous when considering it was achieved by a man who lived a life trapped in his body from the age of 21 when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. His support of the sciences, art, education and the NHS and charities such as the MND foundation will also live on as will his wickedly funny sense of humor.”

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