Dr. Stephen Hawking died on March 14, 2018, 55 years after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The slow-progressing disease had left Hawking paralyzed and unable to speak.
Although an exact cause of death has not been released, Hawking’s family told ABC News that he “died peacefully” at his home in Cambridge, England.
Hawking is survived by his three children, Robert, Lucy, and Tim. The three grown children are products of Hawking’s first marriage to Jane Hawking.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Children Released a Joint Statement Following Their Dad’s Death
Before his death, Stephen Hawking gave his children three very important pieces of advice.
“Here are the most important pieces of advice that I’ve passed on to my children. One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is rare and don’t throw it away,” he told ABC’s “World New Tonight” back in 2010.
This was only a small sampling of the things that Hawking has said over the years that people have held onto. In fact, in the statement released by his children following his passing, another one of his quotes was highlighted.
“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 humor 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,” the statement read.
2. They Could Inherit More Than $20 Million
Following Hawking’s death, there has been some interest in his fortune and how much money his kids will inherit. The Richest estimates that Hawking had a net worth of $20 million at the time of his passing.
According to the Mirror, Hawking’s fortune will be distributed amongst his family.
He earned his money through various avenues in life. Not only was he the Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC) at the University of Cambridge, but he was also a best-selling author.
3. Lucy Hawking Is an Author & a Mother of 1
Lucy Hawking graduated from Oxford University, where she studied French and Russian. She went on to study journalism at City University in London. She soon realized, however, that journalism wasn’t for her.
“I realized that hard news was never going to be my forté but I saw journalism as a practical way of getting into writing. For one exercise, you were given a small section of the A-Z and told to come back two hours later with three news stories. I got quite good marks but I don’t know that I could do it now,” Lucy told the Independent back in 2009.
She wrote two novels, Jaded and Run for Your Life, before transitioning into something else. Lucy decided to write children’s books and teamed up with her dad to write George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, a series of three books about science inspired by Stephen Hawking’s life.
Lucy is a mother of one. She has a son named William, 20, who was diagnosed with autism when he was younger. William’s father is Alex Mackenzie Smith, who was married to Lucy from 1998 through 2004.
Lucy was very close to her father and wasn’t too fond of his second wife, Elaine Mason, who was accused of abusing him on multiple occasions. Lucy was dealing with that, as well as going through a divorce of her own, and raising an autistic child as a single parent, all of which caused her a great deal of stress and anxiety. In 2004, she checked into rehab.
“I was in a state of full-on mental and physical decline. My father was in intensive care and everything got too much for me. I just couldn’t see how I could get myself better,” Lucy told the Evening Standard.
Lucy is able to manage life better these days and has dedicated much of her time to helping others. According to The Mirror, she is the “vice president of the National Star College an institution dedicated to helping people with disabilities and is also a trustee of the Autism Research Trust.”
4. Tim Hawking Was Born After His Dad’s Speech Started to Deteriorate
Timothy or Tim Hawking was born in April 1979, a few years after his dad was diagnosed with ALS. Since his father’s condition had already started affecting his ability to speak when Tim was born, Tim’s relationship with his dad differed from the relationship that his siblings had with him. However, Tim was able to bond with his father and the two would enjoy spending time together nonetheless.
“Tim once said that his father losing his voice was ironically the time when he formed a close relation with him. But it appears that after a cold start Stephen and Tim later bonded and would go to watch motor racing together. In a BBC documentary, Timothy confessed how he used to program swear words into his father’s speech machine and played pranks on him,” The Sun reports.
According to The Guardian, there had been some rumors that Tim wasn’t Stephen Hawking’s son, and that his father was Jonathan Hellyer Jones, a musician whom Jane Hawking married after her divorce from Hawking. This is something that she has denied, saying that there’s “no doubt” that Tim is Stephen’s son.
5. Robert Hawking Is a Software Engineer
Robert Hawking, 50, is the oldest child of Stephen and Jane Hawking, and has been credited with helping his mother raise his siblings as his father’s health declined.
For the most part, Robert has kept himself out of the spotlight. He lives a very quiet, private life in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and their two children. In 2014, Robert joined his siblings to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which you can see in the video above.
Robert works as a software engineer for Microsoft, according to The Sun.