award-winning physicist and influential author, stephen hawking, has died aged 76. his family released a statement in the early hours of wednesday morning confirming his death at his home in cambridge on the morning of march 14 — a day science fans are celebrating as pi day.


we are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today‘, hawking’s children, lucy, robert and tim said in the statement. 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.’

stephen hawking dies aged 76 on albert einstein's birthday and US day of pi

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by coincidence, hawking died on albert einstein’s birthday, einstein being another venerated theoretical physicist who also died aged 76 in 1955. march 14 also marked pi day in the US, in honor of the mathematical constant whose first digits are 3.14. diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 at the age of 21, doctors expected hawking to live for only two more years. but hawking had a form of the disease that progressed more slowly than usual and survived for more than half a century.


from his wheelchair, he has led us on a journey to the farthest and strangest reaches of the cosmos. in so doing, he has stirred our imagination and showed us the power of the human spirit.’, said obama in a speech back in 2009. the then-US president barack obama awarded him with the presidential medal of freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded in america. 


video by universal pictures UK



in addition to his scientific work, hawking became a familiar cameo in many pop-culture favorites including the simpsons, star trek, and the big bang theory. most recently his life was celebrated in the oscar-winning biopic ‘the theory of everything,’ based on the memoir ‘travelling to infinity: my life with stephen,’ by jane hawking.


video by the simpsons



the family did not disclose the cause of death, but said he ‘died peacefully’ at his home in cambridge, england in the statement released on wednesday morning.