Matt Dunham, AP
FILE - In this Monday, March 6, 2017 file photo, Britain's Professor Stephen Hawking receives the Honorary Freedom of the City of London during a ceremony at the Guildhall in the City of London. Cambridge University has put Stephen Hawking's doctoral thesis online on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, triggering such interest that it crashed the university's website. Completed in 1966 when Hawking was 24, "Properties of Expanding Universes" explores ideas about the origins of the universe that have resonated through the scientist’s career. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, file)

Physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, a family spokesperson said, according to BBC News.

The family released a statement saying Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," Hawking's three children said 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.

Read the entire statement below:

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Hawking’s legacy includes being one of the world’s most famous scientists. His theories on how the universe began received worldwide acclaim when he published them in the 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” according to BuzzFeed News.

Hawking developed a motor neuron disease in the 1960s that required him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Hawking’s fame went mainstream in more recent years. He appeared in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The Simpsons.” In 2015, Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking in the film, “The Theory of Everything.”

Twitter reacted to Hawking’s death immediately, making the famous physicist the top trending item worldwide in a matter of minutes.