(FinancialPress) — World leaders, entertainers, scientists and technology vanguards have joined in sorrow after news of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking’s passing broke. He died Wednesday, aged 76.
Google (GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted: “The world has lost a beautiful mind and a brilliant scientist“.
Hawking‘s “legacy and brilliance“ will live on, said Satya Nadella – Microsoft‘s (MSFT) current frontman.
Hawking defied all odds, outliving doctor‘s expectancies over and over. He suffered a debilitating neurodegenerative condition known as lateral amyotrophic sclerosis (LAS). The disease left him paralyzed – but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest scientists of our generation. He was unparalleled when it came to explaining the biggest mysteries in the universe.
A Space Exploration Pioneer
One of his standout theories is that humanity‘s survival depends on our ability to live outside Earth. During a 2008 interview with CNN, Hawking said “I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet.”
He served as inspiration for some of the greatest minds of our generation – such as Elon Musk. The Tesla (TSLA) founder‘s SpaceX company plans to conduct manned flights into space as early as this year. He also expects to fly space tourists around the moon and back within the same timeframe, and believes the company will reach Mars by next year.
Amazon‘s (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos has a space venture of his own, named Blue Origin. The company also expects to delve into space tourism in 2019.
Billionaire Richard Branson also has a space operation in place – Virgin Galaxy. He famously promised Hawking a space exploration flight.
The latter‘s company tweeted “A sad day for all at Virgin Galactic, Professor Stephen Hawking was part of our family from day one. His support for opening space, his enthusiasm to fly, humbled and inspired. RIP Professor and thank you for all you have given us.”