English physicist Stephen Hawking passed away on Wednesday morning in his home at the age of 76.
NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot expressed his sorrow in a touching statement, saying, “Today, the world lost a giant among men, whose impact cannot be overstated. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Stephen Hawking.”
“Along with groundbreaking and inspiring work came another attribute that made Stephen a hero not just to younger generations, but also to his peers. A longtime friend to NASA, Stephen was a passionate communicator who wanted to share the excitement of discovery with all.”
“His loss is felt around the world by all he inspired with his work and his personal story of perseverance,” he continued.
NASA has paid tribute to the physicist with a video uploaded to its Twitter. Here, Hawking speaks to astronauts Kochi Takata and Rick Mastracchio in 2014 at the International Space Station.
The video also shows Hawking experiencing microgravity. He comments, “For me, this was true freedom. People who know me well say that my smile was the biggest they’d ever seen. I was superman for those few minutes.”
Fans from all over the world are mourning the loss of Hawking and have been paying their tributes via social media, including artists and illustrators.
See some of the heartfelt messages below.
Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014 pic.twitter.com/FeR4fd2zZ5
— NASA (@NASA) March 14, 2018
Professor Stephen Hawking 1942-2018 – a video tribute https://t.co/DzwjZII2RL
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) March 14, 2018
The College flag is flying at half mast today in tribute to Professor #Hawking. A book of condolence will be opened in the Porters’ Lodge for all who wish to pay tribute. The College sends its condolences to Professor Hawking’s family.
— Gonville & Caius (@CaiusCollege) March 14, 2018
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
Sad to hear about Stephen Hawking. What a remarkable life. His contributions to science will be used as long as there are scientists, and there are many more scientists because of him. He spoke about the value and fragility of human life and civilisation and greatly enhanced both
— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) March 14, 2018
We were on earth at the same time as Stephen Hawking.
That’s kind of a miraculous thing.
We breathed the same air as the man who demystified the stars.
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) March 14, 2018
— NHS Million (@NHSMillion) March 14, 2018
Remembering Stephen Hawking, a friend of @UNESCO, interpreter of the universe & advocate for ICT’s for people with disabilities.
Professor Hawking embodied the values of UNESCO to share knowledge & empower people.
His star will forever shine brightly in the Universe. pic.twitter.com/N9EaUdnQgC
— UNESCO (@UNESCO) March 14, 2018
Physicist Stephen Hawking, my fave TV character Sheldon Cooper’s idol has died at 76.
Diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1964, doctors gave him 3 years of life. He lived 54 years with this debilitating disease to publish books about the mysteries of the universe. pic.twitter.com/F0JlswGwq6
— Phil Mphela (@PhilMphela) March 14, 2018