Hawking's family released a statement confirming the news of his death. "We are 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. 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," Professor Hawking's children Lucy, Robert, and Tim wrote.
Hawkings, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neurone disease in 1963, was told by doctors that he would only live for just two more years. He was 21 when he was diagnosed with the disease. He went on to live several decades more and would become a legendary figure whose scientific work touched on general relativity and black holes, among a host of other things. Hawkings eventually became the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the U.K.'s University of Cambridge. It was a position once held by Isaac Newton.
The famed scientist, who is credited with helping make complicated ideas accessible to the mainstream, published his best-selling cosmology book A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes back in 1988. It has since went on to sell over 10 million copies.
Outside of science, Hawkings became a pop culture figure of sorts, appearing on shows such as The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The 2014 film The Theory of Everything, which stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, details Hawking's life.