Stephen Hawking, universally beloved scientist and one of the greatest minds of our generation, has died at age 76.

The theoretical physicist, best known for his work in cosmology (particularly with black holes), was both a visionary and an inspiration. Outside his vast intelligence (of which he was very modest, once saying that people who boasted about IQs were losers), he was also a study in resilience and perseverance.

At the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The disease progresses quickly, and Hawking was given only a short time to live, but he survived for decades and stayed mobile with use of a wheelchair.

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Heroes

Stephen Hawking recently announced that he wants to send spacecraft to Alpha Centauri.

Image from Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize Foundation.

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Heroes