Stephen Hawking dies peacefully aged 76 at his Cambridge home

Daily Mail - Science & tech 

Professor Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76 - more than 50 years after he was given just two years to live. The world's most celebrated scientist passed away peacefully at his home in Cambridge this morning after a long battle with motor neurone disease, his family has revealed. His children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: 'We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. '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'. They also said their father's'courage, persistence, brilliance and humour inspired people across the world' - shown in a recent poll that saw him voted the 25th greatest Briton of all time. Professor Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 when he was 21 and he defied medical experts who said he would be dead within two years. In the following 55 years he became the world's most famous scientist since Albert Einstein for his work exploring the mysteries of space, time and black holes despite being wheelchair-bound and only able to communicate using a computer and his famous voice synthesizer. University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope said today: 'His exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and the popularisation of science and mathematics have left an indelible legacy. His character was an inspiration to millions'.