Nobel Prize-winning scientist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Stephen Hawking has died, a family spokesman said. He was 76.

“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," the family said in a statement. "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.”

Here's a look at the life of the world renowned theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astronomer and mathematician, Stephen Hawking.

Birth date: January 8, 1942
Birthplace: Oxford, England (grew up in and around London)
Birth name: Stephen William Hawking
Father: Frank Hawking, a doctor and research biologist
Mother: E. Isobel Hawking
Marriages: Elaine Mason (1995-2006, divorce); Jane Wilde (1965-1991, divorce)
Children: with Jane Wilde: Timothy, Lucy and Robert
Education: Oxford University, B.A., 1962; Cambridge University, Ph.D., 1966


  • Stephen Hawking's birthday (January 8, 1942) is the 300th anniversary of the death of astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei.
  • He is the 17th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, an academic chair at Cambridge University. From 1669 to 1702, the position was held by Sir Isaac Newton.
  • Has guest-starred, as himself, on "The Big Bang Theory," "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "The Simpsons."
  • Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS), is usually fatal after three years. Hawking has survived it for 50 years.
  • The disease has left him paralyzed and completely dependent on others and/or technology for everything: bathing, dressing, eating, mobility and speech. He's able to move only a few fingers on one hand.
  • His speech synthesizer has an American accent.

1963 - Is diagnosed with the motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
1966 - Completes doctoral work in theoretical physics, submitting a thesis on black holes.
1970 - Combines the theory of relativity with quantum theory and finds that black holes emit radiation.
1979 - Becomes the 17th Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University.
1982 - Awarded CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
1985 - Hospitalized with pneumonia Hawking requires an emergency tracheotomy, causing permanent damage to his larynx and vocal cords. A keyboard operated electronic speech synthesizer is refined and adapted to his wheelchair by David Mason, an engineer married to Elaine Mason, one of Hawking's nurses (and future wife).
1988 - His book, "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes," is published.
2004 - Reverses the 1966 theory that black holes swallow everything in their path forever and declares that black holes will never support space travel to other universes.
April 26, 2007 - Becomes the first quadriplegic to experience zero gravity, aboard a Zero Gravity Corporation flight.
October 2007 - "George's Secret Key to the Universe," the first in a series of children's books to help explain the universe, written with daughter Lucy is published.
November 30, 2008 - Is appointed by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario to be its first Distinguished Research Chair.
May 19, 2009 - "George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt," the second in the series of children's books written with daughter Lucy, is published.
July 30, 2009 - Is awarded the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
September 30, 2009 - Steps down as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University after 30 years. Hawking will continue to work at the university.
2009- Director of Research at the Institute for Theoretical Cosmology at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University.
September 7, 2010 - "The Grand Design," written with Leonard Mlodinow, is published.
August 28, 2012 - "George and the Big Bang," the third installment in a series of children's books written with daughter Lucy, is published.
December 2012 - Wins the Fundamental Physics Prize and is awarded $3 million for his theory on black holes emitting energy.
September 10, 2013 - Hawking publishes "My Brief History," a biography that looks at his life and the development of his intellect.
June 5, 2014 - "George and the Unbreakable Code" the fourth installment in a series of children's books written with daughter Lucy, is published.

CNN contributed to this report. 

More Stories

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center