Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76
The physicist was known for his research of black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," a family statement said.
His family said that he died peacefully in his home near Cambridge University, where he did much of his groundbreaking work on black holes.
In the statement his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said: "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."