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Physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

Stephen Hawking, the British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, has died, a spokesman for his family announced Wednesday. He was 76.

Hawking died at his home in Cambridge. In a statement, his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim called their father "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 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 worked on black holes and quantum fluctuations, and his 1988 book A Brief History of Time sold more than 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. Hawking appeared on several television shows, including The Big Bang Theory and in animated form on The Simpsons, and Eddie Redmayne played him in the movie The Theory of Everything.

Hawking had an early-onset form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that progressed slowly over time, ultimately leaving him paralyzed, and he used a device in order to speak. When he was diagnosed at 21, he expected to live for only two more years.