ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Stephan Hawking, a world-renowned physicist who shook the world of astrophysics in his search to explain some of the most fundamental aspects of the universe died at 76 on Wednesday.
Hawking passed away at his home in the British city of Cambridge, early Wednesday morning.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement.
The best-known theoretical physicist of his era, Hawking wrote about some of most complicated mysteries of space and time, including a new understanding of black holes in his book, “A Brief History of Time.” It captured the imagination of both professional scientists and laypeople, becoming an international bestseller and making him one of science’s biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” continued the statement by his children. “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 power of his intellect contrasted cruelly with the weakness of his body, ravaged by a debilitating condition often known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was given only two years to live by doctors when he started showing symptoms at the age of 21.
Hawking was confined for most of his life to a wheelchair. As his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesizer and communicating by moving his eyebrows.
The disease spurred him to work harder, and his colleagues often credited some of his genius to needing to learn to visualize complicated equations in his head without the aid of pen and paper, but in his 2013 memoir, “My Brief History, "Hawking said it also contributed to the collapse of his two marriages.
In the book, he related how he was first diagnosed: “I felt it was very unfair - why should this happen to me,” he wrote.
“At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realize the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life.”
Editing by John J. Catherine