Hawking's family announced his death early Wednesday morning in that statement that said, "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today."
Throughout his life, Hawking defied the odds. When he was 22 he was diagnosed with a rare motor neuron disease and was only given a few years to live by doctors.
While the condition left him unable to walk and speak, save for the use of a voice synthesizer, he went on to become one of the world's most influential scientists.
His major accomplishments include outlining a theory that black holes emit "Hawking radiation" in 1974 and publishing the book A Brief History of Time in 1988, which went on to sell more than 10 million copies.
In the statement, his children Lucy, Robert and Tim went on to praise his "courage and persistence" as well as his "brilliance and humor" that inspired people around the globe. They continued, "He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people we love.' We will miss him forever." (BBC)