Stephen Hawking garnered worldwide respect for his genius mind that flourished despite his ailing physical body. His memory will live on in the hearts of those whose lives he touched and inspired. Hawking's insight helped shape modern cosmology all the way until his death today at age 76.
A statement from his family informed the world of his tragic passing early Wednesday morning. The statement is directly from 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 with his brilliance and humor 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."
Hawking's brilliant mind will live on through his work and various stories dedicated to his life such as the hit film "The Theory Of Everything." In the film, Eddie Redmayne plays a young Stephen Hawking during his college years and falls in love with Jane Wilde played by Felicity Jones.
It was Hawking's intuition and genius that stood out beyond the broken form he inhabited. The brilliant physicist suffered from motor neuron disease since 1963 which ultimately led to being paralyzed. The rare form of the disease that afflicted Hawing took decades to progress and by the end of his life, he was speaking with a single cheek muscle and a digital speech box.
Although Hawking refused to let his illness destroy him, he certainly became a globally recognized figure in part due to his diminished form. The fact that a person could suffer from such a debilitating disease and still continue his career is part of what made him such a beloved figure.
Related coverage: <a href="http://thegoldwater.com/news/20537-Breaking-Stephen-Hawking-Dead-At-76">#Breaking - Stephen Hawking Dead At 76</a>
Hawking wasn't always the ideal student in his younger years. In his 2013 autobiography, My Brief History, Hawking estimated he only worked 1,000 hours during his three years as an undergraduate at Oxford. "You were supposed to be either brilliant without effort, or accept your limitations," Hawking wrote. He was convinced that he was seen as a difficult student.
Perhaps it was his brilliant mind that allowed him to persevere late into his 70's despite his terminal illness. "Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research," Hawking once said of his earlier life.
"My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."
We can only hope that Hawking passed with some small semblance of that goal being achieved. Regardless of whether he achieved a complete understanding of the universe, he certainly achieved a complete understanding of being human. Although he fought off the use of a wheelchair with crutches for many years, when he finally relented he became known for his crazy driving and occasionally running over students' toes or a quick spin on the dance floor.
Stephen Hawking never let his disability stop him from achieving his goals and that is why he will always have a place in my memory. No matter how much the odds are stacked against you, there is always more you can do but only if you never give up.
Tips? Info? Send me a message!