Chichester astronaut Tim Peake has paid tribute to visionary physicist Stephen Hawking.
Professor Hawking died peacefully at home early this morning aged 76.
Tim said on Twitter: “He inspired generations to look beyond our own blue planet and expand our understanding of the universe.
“His personality and genius will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family.”
Prof Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, a rare form of motor neurone disease which meant he spent most of his life in a wheelchair relying on a computer system to speak.
In a statement, his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said: “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.
“His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.
“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”
Tributes have flooded in for Stephen Hawking. Read more here
Last year, professor Stephen Hawking was awarded the John Maynard Keynes Prize at Charleston Festival. Read more about why he was given the prize here
A future astronaut from Cuckfield was one of just 12 select few who attended a ‘mind blowing’ meeting with Professor Stephen Hawking. You can read what he said about the meeting here