The physicist and author of A Brief History of Time has died at his home in Cambridge. Professor Hawking’s insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions. Professor Hawking’s insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions.

His family released a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirming his death at his home in Cambridge. 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 forever.”

For fellow scientists and loved ones, it was Hawking’s intuition and wicked sense of humour that marked him out as much as the broken body and synthetic voice that came to symbolise the unbounded possibilities of the human mind.

He became the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, arguably Britain’s most distinguished chair, and one formerly held by Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage and Paul Dirac, the latter one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics. Hawking held the post for 30 years, then moved to become director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.

In 2012, scientists gathered in Cambridge to celebrate the cosmologist’s 70th birthday. It was one of those milestones in life that few expected him to reach. He spent the event at Addenbrooke’s, too ill to attend, but in a recorded message entitled A Brief History of Mine, he called for the continued exploration of space “for the future of humanity.” Without spreading out into space, humans would not “survive another thousand years,” he said.

In recognition of his achievements, Hawking awarded Albert Einstein Award, the Wolf Prize, the Copley Medal, and the Fundamental Physics Prize.stephen hawking