British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died on Tuesday, March 14 at the age of 76, a spokesman for his family has said, according to the BBC.
A family statement released by his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim, said, “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 humor 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.”
The decorated cosmologist had worked on theorems in general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, named Hawking radiation after himself. He’s also a supporter of the idea of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and has proposed a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. His book “A Brief History of Time” had been a longtime best seller that has sold more than 10 million copies.
Despite his brainier pursuits, Hawking had maintained a pop culture presence in part because of his willingness to appear in mainstream TV shows, often poking fun at himself. He’s appeared on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “The Simpsons,” “Futurama,” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Check out highlights from some of his guest appearances below:
On the big screen, his life was dramatized by actor Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for the portrayal in “The Theory of Everything.” Part of the challenge was portraying Hawking’s condition, a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that gradually paralyzed him over the decades.