According to CNN, Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday at the age of 76.
The Briton was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books, including ‘A Brief History of Time’.
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.”
They praised his “courage and persistence” and said 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.”