Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, a family spokesman said Wednesday.
The British theoretical physicist was known for his groundbreaking work with black holes and relativity and was the author of several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
His 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."
They praised his "courage and persistence" and said 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," they said.
Stephen Hawking had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating neurological condition, for over five decades.
At the age of 21, he was diagnosed with the slow-progressing disease and he was given a mere two years to live. But beating all the obstacles and odds, he established an astounding career as a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, popularizing science with his best-selling book, `A Brief History of Time.`