Early Wednesday morning local time, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Stephen Hawking died, a family spokesman told ABC News. The famed atheist was 76 years old.
Throughout his life, Hawking wrote several influential books including "A Brief History of Time. " He was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 1962, and he spent most of his life in a wheelchair.
He was probably the best-known scientist in the world. His early work on black holes transformed how scientists think about the nature of the universe, and he was the subject of a movie.
The biopic, "The Theory of Everything," won an Oscar for Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Hawking.
The Hawking family did not disclose his cause of death. They revealed that 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,” it added.
He leaves behind a wife, Lucy, and two sons, Robert and Tim. Please pray for his family.