Scientist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, a spokesman for his family has said.

Professor Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: "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 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."

The physicist is described as the greatest mind of the generation. He lived for decades with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, after being diagnosed at the age of 21.  

The world famous physicist and cosmologist was the subject of the 2014 film The Theory Of Everything, which starred Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

Hawking contracted motor neurone disease in 1963 and was given two years to live but he went on to study at Cambridge and became one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein.

News Corp Australia

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