Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain some of the most complicated questions of life while himself working under the shadow of a likely premature death, has died at 76.
The UK’s Press Association reported his death, citing a spokesman for the family.
His work ranged from the origins of the universe itself, through the tantalizing prospect of time travel to the mysteries of space’s all-consuming black holes.
Hawking was confined for most of his life to a wheelchair. As his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesizer and communicating by moving his eyebrows.
The disease spurred him to work harder but also contributed to the collapse of his two marriages, he wrote in a 2013 memoir “My Brief History.”
In the book he related how he was first diagnosed: “I felt it was very unfair – why should this happen to me,” he wrote.
“At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realize the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life.”
Hawking shot to international fame after the 1988 publication of “A Brief History of Time”, one of the most complex books ever to achieve mass appeal, which stayed on the Sunday Times best-sellers list for no fewer than 237 weeks.
”My original aim was to write a book that would sell on airport bookstalls,” he told reporters at the time. “In order to make sure it was understandable I tried the book out on my nurses. I think they understood most of it.”