Professor Stephen Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said. The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.
In a statement his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said: “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.”
They praised his “courage and persistence” and said 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.”
For fellow scientists and loved ones, it was Hawking’s intuition and wicked sense of humour that marked him out as much as the fierce intellect that, coupled with his illness, came to symbolise the unbounded possibilities of the human mind.
Here are some tweets by Africans remembering the great scientist: