LONDON (dpa-AFX) - With the death of Stephen Hawking comes to end the unbelievable saga of a genius, who bravely fought a disease that left him almost completely paralyzed at a very young age, to become one of the most respected and best-known scientists of his age.
Looking back at his life, it can be termed as one that re-wrote destiny, and defeated limitations of medical science.
The British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author of several popular science books, was born in Oxford, England, on 8 January 1942.
Hawking, who loved horse-riding and rowing, was studying at Cambridge when he was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease which gradually left him unable to walk without support, and his speech almost unintelligible.
As he was preparing to marry his sweetheart Jane Wilde in 1964, his doctors guaranteed him no more than two or three years of life. But the disease progressed more slowly than expected, and he lived for another 54 years - A life that his family describes as one that 'inspired people across the world with his courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor.'
He married twice, and had three children.
In 1988, when he was only able to speak with a voice synthesiser following a tracheotomy, Hawking had completed his book on cosmology - A Brief History of Time - that sold more than 10 million copies.
Hawking was probably one of the very few scientists in the world who achieved rock-star status.
He was renowned for his extraordinary capacity to visualize scientific solutions without calculation or experiment.
His early work on black holes transformed how scientists think about the nature of the universe. His theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation became known as Hawking radiation.
He received honorary degrees, medals, prizes and awards throughout his career and was honored with a CBE and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
It is a strange coincidence that Hawking died on the anniversary of Einstein's birth.
He leaves the world with a food for thought for generations to come: 'I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road'.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX