Renowned Physicist Stephen Hawking Dead at 76 A family spokesman confirmed the news on Wednesday. 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 had suffered from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, since 1963, when doctors only gave him a few years to live. The disease left Hawking paralyzed and dependent on others and technology in order to survive. May of Hawking's most memorable achievements center around time and space, becoming the leading physicist on black holes and the Big Bang.