Legendary theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has died.
The famous scientist, who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and was in a wheelchair and paralyzed for much of his life, defied his disease’s restrictions and died on Wednesday at the age of 76, as Fox News reported.
Despite his debilitating disease, Hawkins was a popular scientist who published books, taught, participated in interviews and attempted to explore the origins of the universe, fully defying the physical constraints he faced.
Fox News has more about Hawking’s contributions to the field of science:
Although Hawking may have been incapacitated physically, he managed to write books, including the best seller “A Brief History of Time,” teach physics and mathematics, deliver speeches and even float in zero gravity, all while working in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity.
He was not modest about what he wanted to do. “My goal is simple,” he once said. “It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
Hawkins’ children Lucy, Robert and Tim released a statement remembering their late father as a “great scientist” and an “extraordinary man” whose “legacy will live on for many years.”
“His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world,” the statement read. “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.”
Hawkins was also known as an atheist, saying in a 2014 interview El Mundo’s Pablo Jauregui that he believes science has a more compelling explanation for how the universe came to be. He had previously written in his book “A Brief History of Time” that unifying scientific principles could help scientists learn the “mind of God,” NBC News reported.
But, he clarified those remarks for Jauregui years later.
“Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation,” he said. “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”
Hawkins told Reuters in 2007 that he wasn’t religious as people would normally consider the word.
“I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science,” he said at the time. “The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws.”
Read more about Hawkins’ life here.