Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous scientists of our time has died at the age 76 at his home in Cambridge.

Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim made a statement saying “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 for ever.”

Hawking defied all physical odds in his lifetime, making great achievements in his field while suffering from Motor Neurone disease that he was diagnosed with at the age of 21, in 1963. Doctors only expected Hawking to live for another more years, but he had a slow progressing form of the disease that allowed him to live until the age of 76.

According to his writings, Hawking rarely allowed his condition to bring him down.

“Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research,” he once said, speaking of the days after his diagnosis.

While Hawking had many accomplishments throughout his life, it was the 1988 publication of his book “A Brief History of Time” that pushed him into the spotlight. The book sold over 10 million copies and actually made the Guinness Book of Records for most days on the Sunday Times bestsellers list.

Image: Physicist Stephen Hawking © Lucas Jackson / Reuters