TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking, whose mental genius and physical disability made him a household name and inspiration across the globe, has died at age 76, his family said Wednesday. Hawking, whose 1988 book "A Brief History of Time" became an unlikely worldwide bestseller and cemented his superstar status, dedicated his life to unlocking the secrets of the Universe. His genius and wit won over fans from far beyond the rarified world of astrophysics. He died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning. "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," Professor Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement carried by Britain's Press Association news agency.