British physicist Stephen Hawking, the author of the worldwide best-selling book A Brief History of Time and the subject of the Oscar-nominated film The Theory of Everything, has died at the age of 76.

Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim confirmed the news to the BBC in a statement: "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 forever.”

Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was confined to an electric wheelchair for much of his adult life. Diagnosed at age 21, he unable to move a muscle, and only communicated via a computer-synthesized voice. He was one of the world’s longest survivors of ALS ever, and one of the brightest minds this world has ever known.

“My goal is simple,” he once said. “It is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” He spent much of his career searching for a way to reconcile Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum physics and produce a “Theory of Everything.”

R.I.P to Stephen Hawking.