‘People Need Not Be Limited By Physical Handicaps’: Stephen Hawking Dies At 76 After Living With ALS For Decades
When he was first diagnosed with the disease, Stephen Hawking was given two years to live. He went on to become one of the world's most well-known scientists.
The New York Times:
Stephen Hawking, Who Examined The Universe And Explained Black Holes, Dies At 76
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. (Overbye, 3/14)
Physicist Stephen Hawking, Who Unlocked The Secrets Of Space And Time, Dies At 76
The power of his intellect contrasted cruelly with the weakness of his body, ravaged by the wasting motor neuron disease he developed at the age of 21. Hawking was confined for most of his life to a wheelchair. As his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesizer and communicating by moving his eyebrows. ... In the book he related how he was first diagnosed: "I felt it was very unfair - why should this happen to me," he wrote. "At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realize the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life." (Addison, 3/14)
The Washington Post:
Stephen Hawking’s Secret To Surviving His Terrible Condition? A Sense Of Humor.
The fact Hawking survived into his 70s is remarkable in its own right. “He is known as one of the longest, if not the longest, surviving patients with ALS in history,” the International Business Times wrote in 2012. “What’s happened to him is just astounding,” Leo McCluskey, the medical director at the University of Pennsylvania’s ALS Center, told Scientific American in that same year. “He’s certainly an outlier.” In a January 2016 question and answer session, Hawking credited “my work and a sense of humour” with keeping him alive. (Swenson, 3/14)
The Wall Street Journal:
Stephen Hawking, Who Bridged Science And Popular Culture, Dies At Age 76
“From his wheelchair, he’s led us on a journey to the farthest and strangest reaches of the cosmos,” President Barack Obama said of Dr. Hawking in 2009 during a ceremony in which the cosmologist received the Medal of Freedom. “In so doing, he has stirred our imagination and shown us the power of the human spirit here on Earth.” (Hernandez, 3/14)
The Washington Post:
Stephen Hawking, Physicist Who Came To Symbolize The Power Of The Human Mind, Dies At 76
Dr. Hawking eventually became one of the planet’s most renowned science popularizers, and he embraced the attention, traveling the world, meeting with presidents, visiting Antarctica and Easter Island, and flying on a special “zero-gravity” jet whose parabolic flight let Dr. Hawking float through the cabin as if he were in outer space. “My goal is simple,” he once said. “It is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” He spent much of his career searching for a way to reconcile Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum physics and produce a “Theory of Everything.” (Achenbach and Rensberger, 3/14)
What Is ALS, The Disease Physicist Stephen Hawking Lived With For Over Five Decades?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. It affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that make the muscles of both the upper and lower body work. Those nerve cells lose their ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which leads to paralysis and death. People with the condition lose control of muscle movement, eventually losing their ability to eat, speak, walk and, ultimately, breathe. (McKirdy, 3/14)