Renowned Scientist, Stephen Hawking, Dies at 76

Stephen Hawking, an award-winning physicist and influential author, died early Wednesday morning, a family spokesman told ABC News. He was 76.

Hawking, whose books included “A Brief History of Time” and “The Universe in a Nutshell,” was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1962.

The family did not disclose the cause of death, but said he “died peacefully” at his home in Cambridge, England.

“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,” the family said in a statement. “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.”

Hawking leaves behind his daughter, Lucy, and two sons, Robert and Tim. They thanked his fans who have “been by Professor Hawking’s side –- and supported him -– throughout his life.”

Hawking was considered one of the leading voices in science because of his extensive research and work related to understanding the universe.

“I never expected to reach 75, so I feel very fortunate to be able to reflect on my legacy,” Hawking said in a BBC interview last year.

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