Comedian and presenter Dara Ó Briain has paid tribute to Professor Stephen Hawking, describing the late physicist and cosmologist as "a hero" and saying it was "a privilege" to work with him.
Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the age of 76. He had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease, when he was a 22-year-old student at Cambridge University.
Ó Briain, who worked with Hawking on the 2015 documentary Dara Ó Briain Meets Stephen Hawking, was among the first to pay tribute.
"What a privilege it was to know Stephen Hawking," Ó Briain wrote on Twitter.
"His work elevated us to the extra-ordinary; his life pushed down a terrible, limiting disease so that he could enjoy the full joy of the ordinary. In both, he was a triumph of what can we, as humans, can achieve."
"He was one of the few people I would call a hero of mine; it was an honour and joy to have spent time with him," the mathematics and theoretical physics graduate continued.
I asked him once "How have you lived so long?" And he said "How can I die, when I have so much of the Universe left to explore?"— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) March 14, 2018
Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking in the film The Theory of Everything, said: "We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
"My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family."
Katy Perry, Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Macaulay Culkin were among the many stars who also paid tribute.
Perry said there was a "black hole in my heart" shortly after hearing the news of Hawking's passing.
there’s a big black hole in my heart hours before Pi day. Rest In Peace @Steven_Hawking... See you in the next ❤️— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 14, 2018
Stephen Fry remembered Hawking's "fabulously wicked sense of humour" in his tweet.
Sad news to wake up to here in the US. Pleased so many have recalled #StephenHawking 's fabulously wicked sense of humour. My character Adrian in The Liar saw him, as I sometimes did, in the Cambridge University Library. pic.twitter.com/nNahVI3Fa0— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) March 14, 2018
TV presenter Jonathan Ross tweeted: "RIP Stephen Hawking. The world just dropped a lot of IQ points. And, he was a fun person. Very sad news."
RIP Stephen Hawking. The world just dropped a lot of IQ points. And, he was a fun person. Very sad news.— Jonathan Ross (@wossy) March 14, 2018
Comedian David Walliams, who worked with Hawking on comedy show Little Britain, thanked his late co-star for being "a great laugh".
The cast of The Big Bang Theory said it was "an honour" to have worked with him on the sitcom.
Actor Macaulay Culkin recounted Hawking's appearances on The Simpsons, writing: "I just heard about Stephen Hawking's passing. He was both a genius and my favorite Simpsons character. We'll miss you, buddy."
I just heard about Stephen Hawking's passing. He was both a genius and my favorite Simpsons character. We'll miss you, buddy.— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) March 14, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the world "will always be inspired" by Stephen Hawking's life and ideas.
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." -Stephen Hawking. We will always be inspired by his life and ideas. RIP.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 14, 2018
Here are some more of the tributes:
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
I am so sad to hear of the death of Prof. Stephen Hawking. ‘A brief history of time’ piqued my interest in the universe & encouraged me to pursue Theoretical Physics. He was a larger than life role model for so many people & made such positive contributions to the world. RIP pic.twitter.com/EDh4s0W5eM— Aoibhinn (@aoibhinn_ni_s) March 14, 2018
It also makes me think of my wonderful uncle Rory who sadly died from motor neuron disease. Aside from his scientific work, Hawking achieved so much by persevering through the challenges of the illness. https://t.co/U9bIKnUKBZ— Aoibhinn (@aoibhinn_ni_s) March 14, 2018
I met Stephen Hawking at the Magic Castle about 6 years ago. I’ll never forget it. Thank you for your work Stephen. Thank you for showing us how powerful the human spirit is. #RIP pic.twitter.com/lWXaHXtT9L— Brie Larson (@brielarson) March 14, 2018
Just sitting here absolutely shattered about Stephen Hawking.— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) March 14, 2018