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Stephen Hawking Dies at 76; His Mind Roamed the Cosmos

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Stephen Hawking became a leader in exploring gravity and the properties of black holes. His work led to a turning point in the history of modern physics.CreditTerry Smith/Time Life Pictures, via Getty Images

A physicist and best-selling author, Dr. Hawking did not allow his physical limitations to hinder his quest to answer “the big question: Where did the universe come from?”

By Dennis Overbye / The New York Times

Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.

His death was confirmed by a spokesman for Cambridge University.

“Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, said in an interview.

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