New Delhi, March 14:  Stephen Hawking, world’s most famous scientist, passed away on Wednesday. The 76-year-old theoretical physicist is best known for his work on black holes. His book ‘A Brief History of Time’ was a bestseller which brought science to the living rooms of the common man.

Hawking’s family released a statement confirming his death in his house in Cambridge. He was suffering from motor neuron, a degenerative disease, for decades. He did his best work while wheelchair-bound. He had also lost his speech early in his career and used  to communicate using a device. Hawking is survived by his three children– Lucy, Robert and Tim.

“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 coupled 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,” the statement read.

Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron in 1963 when he was just 21. Doctors had said then that he would live only two years. However, he survived the disease for more than 50 years. Hawking’s research has given the world a better understanding of the cosmos. He once famously said that his goal of life was a “complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all”.