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Former President Bill Clinton says that he and wife Hillary are saddened by the death of physicist Stephen Hawking, who died at age 76.

There's so much that can be said about Hawking and his contributions to the world that it likely would make this article run on and on for many pages.

When thinking about Hawking's perspective on life, I am reminded how incredibly blessed I am.

Stephen Hawking was undoubtedly an intellectual giant, making leaps of reasoning that sometimes led to startling insights into the nature of the physical world.

He had produced some of the most cosmological researched about gravity and the properties of the black hole.

Humbert also spoke with students about Hawking as the man, who was continually told he couldn't achieve success through his work because of his diagnosis.

"He was of course a very great physicist and one of the greatest physicists of his generation", Stephen M. Barr, a particle physics and cosmology researcher who is a professor at the University of DE said. Despite his state, while we all know he suffered from a very grave disease and communicated with the world with a computer, Hawking did science and got grandiose results.

The Motor Neurone Disease Association's website stopped working yesterday following a surge of traffic to after the announcement of the death of its patron Professor Stephen Hawking.

As I reflected on his death, I found myself also reflecting on his life. However, despite Hawking's challenges and his overt sarcasm, he always maintained a positive outlook on life and he had a constant desire to work toward something bigger than himself.

Professor Hawking also believed that humans should travel to other planets too, as life on the earth is in danger due to environmental problems.

"One, do not forget to look up at the stars and not down at your feet".

"So his sense of humour was not just a donnish, academic one: it was a sense of the absurd", he added.

Hawking was the best-known theoretical physicist of his time. The 26-year-old has been out of action with an ankle ligament injury and has been forced to wear a protective boot in his recovery. His body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, when he was 21, but he stunned doctors by living with the usually fatal illness for more than 50 years.

The University of Cambridge, where Prof Hawking completed his PhD and went on to become Lucasian Professor of Mathematics - a role once held by Sir Isaac Newton - described him as "an inspiration to millions".

Hawking is an icon in the world of physics, in particular for his book, "A Brief History of Time", which was written to help the non-physicists among us understand things like where the universe came from, how it began and if it will end.