Stephen Hawking dies at 76

Stephen Hawking dies at 76

Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and author, has died at age 76, according to multiple reports.

A spokesperson for the family made the announcement early Wednesday local time.

One of the most prominent intellectuals of his era, the Oxford-born physicist was behind groundbreaking discoveries about black holes and general relativity.

Hawking was diagnosed in 1963 with Lou Gehrig's disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which attacks cells that control the muscles and eventually paralyzed Hawking. He was still able to communicate using a computer that generated speech.

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In recent years, he was an outspoken critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE, calling him out for his rhetoric on the campaign trail and for his environmental policies.

After Trump said last summer he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords, Hawking warned that climate change is among the greatest dangers facing the world.

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” Hawking told BBC News last July. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”

In May 2016, shortly before Trump officially earned the Republican presidential nomination, Hawking slammed him as a “demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.” 

He also opposed Great Britain leaving the European Union, arguing that being a part of the union would help the country’s security and economy.

--Updated at 12:14 a.m. on March 14