Stephen Hawking’s family released a statement today, confirming his death at his home in England.
This is a tragic event, since he was a great scientist who inspired a whole generation of aspiring young scientists.
When he was 21, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), a degenerative disease of the nervous system that causes paralysis of striated muscles due to the death of motor neurons.
The doctors predicted a two-year survival for him, but he lived more than five decades with the disease. He was probably the longest surviving patient with this disease in the whole history of medicine.
Despite this disability, he made astounding contributions to the fields of science and to humanity.
Let me quote a beautiful tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the renowned American astrophysicist:
“His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018.”