Stephen Hawking Dies At 76

Physicist Stephen Hawking has died, according to his family. The author of "A Brief History of Time" was 76 years old.

Stephen Hawking Dies At 76
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Stephen Hawking has died. He was 76.

Hawking's children announced the news early Wednesday morning local time.

Hawking was one of the most brilliant physicists of his time. During his career, he conducted groundbreaking research into general relativity and black holes.

Hawking also made headlines for some controversial statements about time travel being possible and artificial intelligence wiping out the human race.

He held the academic post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge from 1979 to 2009. The prestigious title has a distinguished history: Sir Isaac Newton had that gig from 1669-1702.

In 2009, then-President Barack Obama honored Hawking with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Hawking was also a best-selling author. One of his most well-known works, "A Brief History of Time," helped him become one of the most recognizable scientists in popular culture.

Doctors diagnosed Hawking with a motor neuron disease called ALS when he was 21.

The average life expectancy for people with ALS is three to five years after diagnosis. Hawking lived for more than 50 years with the disease.

Hawking's life was the basis of the 2014 film "The Theory of Everything." Actor Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking, won an Oscar for best actor.

Hawking is survived by his three children and three grandchildren.