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Stephen Hawking Dies at 76

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LONDON (NBC News)-- Stephen Hawking, the British theoretical physicist who beat the odds his entire life, has died. He was 76.

The University of Cambridge, where Hawking was director of research in applied mathematics and theoretical physics and founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, confirmed his death early Wednesday to NBC News.

Hawking was as famous for his insights on black holes, the existence of God and quantum gravity as he was for his unique way of speaking while living his life in a wheelchair. Operating his trademark computer system with his cheek, Hawking gave the world insights into the unknown and gems of quotations, including, "Life would be tragic if it weren't funny."

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