Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking Reuters

One of the brightest stars in the firmament of science, Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76 on Wednesday, March 14, which coincides with the birth anniversary of Einstein and also marks the mathematical 'Pi'Day on March 14.

Confirming his death, the family released a statement on Wednesday morning.

Hawking helped to shape the modern cosmology and inspired millions of individuals through his scientific works such as gravitational singularity theorems and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation.

In the statement, Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said, "We have 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. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world," the statement continued.

"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," the statement said.

The world-renowned theoretical physicist was diagnosed with the debilitating motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 1963 when he was just 21-years-old.

Within five years of diagnosis, 80 percent of the ALS died and his own doctor said that he could live hardly for two more years. But it was a miracle that the scientist survived for decades compared to other patients with same medical history. He used a wheelchair to move around, including a smart computer which was used to convey his thoughts before the people, as he lost his ability to even talk.

After he was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease, he went to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College and from 1979 to 2009 he held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, which was once held by Isaac Newton in 1663.

Professor Hawking shocked the world when he published his first general-audience book, 'A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes' in 1988. Later he wrote 'Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays' in 1993, 'The Universe in a Nutshell' in 2001, 'On The Shoulders of Giants' in 2002, 'God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History' in 2005, 'The Dreams That Stuff Is Made of: The Most Astounding Papers of Quantum Physics and How They Shook the Scientific World' in 2011 and 'My Brief History' in 2013.

In his last book, Hawking explained his challenging and improbable journey. It showcased his boyhood days during the post-war period in London to his years of international acclaim and becoming a celebrity.

The book explained how his own classmates nicknamed him 'Einstein' and his colleagues made a joke on him when he told about the existence of the black hole.

In 2014, James Marsh directed the movie called 'The Theory of Everything', where he showed how the young husband and father striving to gain a foothold in the world of academia, became one of the greatest scientists of the world.

Recently Hawking has made an apocalyptic prediction, where he warned the humans and said they need to become a multi-planetary species within the next century. In 2016 he prophesied that humans hardly have 1,000 years left on the Earth.