English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the age of 76.
Hawking, who battled motor neurone disease and had only been given a few years to live in his twenties, was renowned around the world for his incredible genius but also for his ability to make people laugh, which increased his immense popularity and respect.
Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, released a statement, which confirmed their father had died.
The statement read: "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."
Tributes have poured in for Hawking, showing how widely he was respected around the world.
Hawking was famous for his widely read science books, including 'A Brief History of Time', and for his work on the theories around black holes and relativity.
He also crossed over into popular culture as a result of his success in science and huge reputation. He made memorable appearances in TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons. He was also the subject of the Oscar-winning movie, The Theory of Everything Movie.
RIP Stephen Hawking - a true hero and genius.