As a 21-year-old student at Camdridge University, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease and was given only two years to live.
As his condition worsened, Hawking gradually began to lose his ability to move, slowly being able to communicate by using a single cheek muscle that was attached to a device that allowed him to speak.
Despite his diagnosis and alarming prognosis, Hawking continued his studies at Cambridge University, and went on to change the subject of cosmology.
While he was still a student at Cambridge University, before his battle with motor neuron disease, Hawking met his first wife, Jane.
Jane and Hawking divorced in 1995 after 30 years of marriage, but she remained a constant in his life.
In 1988, Hawking published his bestseller book, A Brief History of Time, which featured a “theory of everything” that would later inspire an Oscar-winning film by the same name, decades later.
“It would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God,” he wrote in A Brief History of Time.
The book catapulted his fame from just within academia and he became a household name. He became a familiar figure in pop culture, with guest roles on The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
In 1995, Hawking remarried Elaine Mason and the couple were together 11 years before ending their marriage.
In 2003, Jim Carrey visits Professor Stephen Hawking at his home in Cambridge, Britain.
Hawking and former President Nelson Mandela get acquainted in Johannesburg in May 2008.
In 2009, Hawking is presented with the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Jim Parsons poses with Hawking as the pair gear up to film scenes for The Big Bang Theory, in which Parsons’ character Sheldon gets to finally meet his hero, Hawking.
Backstage at a preview performance of 33 Variations, Jane Fonda — who portrayed a musicologist with ALS in the play — meets with Hawking in 2011.
In May 2014, Queen Elizabeth II meets Professor Stephen Hawking during a reception for Leonard Cheshire Disability in the State Rooms.
In 2014, Hawking’s life was adapted into the film The Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne, who played the physicist, and Felicity Jones, who played his ex-wife Jane.
“I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well,” Hawking said in a video interview. “At times, I thought it was me.”
On March 14, 2018, Hawking’s family revealed the world-renowned physicist passed away that morning at age 76.
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, with first wife Jane said in the statement.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” it continued. “His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world.”