Renowned scientist compared to Einstein and Newton, dies

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British physicist Stephen Hawking, whose mental genius and physical disability made him a household name and inspiration across the globe, has died at age 76.

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His family said he died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

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Hawking, whose 1988 book “A Brief History of Time” became an unlikely worldwide bestseller and cemented his superstar status, dedicated his life to unlocking the secrets of the Universe.

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He defied predictions he would only live for a few years after developing a form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22.

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The illness gradually robbed him of mobility, leaving him confined to a wheelchair, almost completely paralysed and unable to speak except through his trademark voice synthesiser.

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Hawking became one of the world’s most well-regarded scientists, earning comparisons with Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton.

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