British scientist Stephen Hawking dead at age 76

Photo_Web_Hawking_140318

File: Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has died at age 76.

File: Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has died at age 76.

Photo_Web_Hawking_140318

File: Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has died at age 76.

File: Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has died at age 76.

LONDON - Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has died at age 76, a family spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," professor Hawking&39;s children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement carried by Britain&39;s Press Association news agency.

"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years."

Hawking defied predictions he would only live for a few years after developing a form of motor neurone disease that left him confined to a wheelchair.

"His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world," the family said.

"He once said, &39;It would not be much of a universe if it wasn&39;t home to the people you love.&39; We will miss him forever."