LONDON (CBSLA/AP) — Stephen Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralyzed by disease, has died, a family spokesman said.

“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement.

The best-known theoretical physicist of his time, Hawking wrote so lucidly of the mysteries of space, time and black holes that his book, “A Brief History of Time,” became an international bestseller, making him one of science’s biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.

Even though his body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, when Hawking was 21, he stunned doctors by living with the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years.

Despite being one of the most brilliant minds in generations, Hawking found a following through his various cameos that have become part of pop culture history.

He appeared on the incredibly popular CBS show “Big Bang Theory.”

Hawkings also admitted some of his fame was due to his appearance in 1999 on “The Simpsons,” and he proved he could make fun of himself when Homer called him “someone I never heard of.”

“The episode was very funny, and now almost as many people know me through ‘The Simpsons,’ as through my science,” Hawkings once said.

President Obama awarded Hawking the Medal of Freedom for pushing the boundaries of science, joking with the crowd that Hawking was a “mediocre student.”

Caltech in Pasadena, where Hawking occasionally spoke and worked, tweeted condolences Tuesday.

Fellow physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson said Hawking’s passing “a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure.”

The Big Bang Theory also tweeted a photo of the cast with Hawking.

(©2018 CBS Local Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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