British scientist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

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The news of physicist Professor Stephen Hawking's death early on Wednesday left people across the world in shock.

The English physicist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of the morning.

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today", Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a statement.

Plait described how Hawking discovered how "the most powerful objects in the Universe" black holes "eventually dissolve", and how Hawking lived for another 55 years despite his ALS diagnosis. "People who annoyed him, it was said, found themselves a target".

Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S.

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. "Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking", he wrote on Twitter.

His 1988 book "A Brief History of Time" became an worldwide bestseller and brought him widespread fame.

Since then, the professor used a voice synthesiser which enabled him to control a computer screen using his cheek for data entry.

He also explained that he was able to change the accent of his computer when the technology advanced, but he decided against it.

But that's not the only major contribution or discovery that Hawking will be remembered for.

Hawking said making the first moves into space would "elevate humanity" because it would have to involve many countries.

In September 2016 Hawking joined 375 "concerned" scientists in penning an open letter criticizing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing the threat of climate change and blasting his push for the United States to leave the Paris Accord. He was diagnosed with ALS when he was 21, while a doctoral student in cosmology at the University of Cambridge. His books, particularly A Brief History of Time, became blockbuster successes. In 1982, Hawking was among the first to show how quantum fluctuations - tiny variations in the distribution of matter - might give rise through inflation to the spread of galaxies in the universe.

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power underlined Hawking's kind heart in addition to his brilliant mind.

Mayim Bialik, who is both a neuroscientist and star of the TV series "The Big Bang Theory", tweeted that in his passing, Hawking was "free from the physical constraints of this earthly condition we all exist in" and was now "soaring" above the world.

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