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Renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking, known for his breakthrough ideas in theoretical physics and space research, has died at the age of 76, his family says.

“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” Hawking’s children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement.

The world-famous astrophysicist had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating neurological condition, for over half a century.

Diagnosed with the slow-progressing disease at the age of 21, Hawking was given a mere two years to live. Hawking believed in the colonization of Mars, arguing that the Earth is “becoming too small for us” and will soon be unable to sustain human life.