The world lost one of its most expansive minds on March 14 with the death of renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. His books and TV shows made him a superstar of the scientific community — and the 2014 biopic The Theory of Everything only bolstered his fame — but few people knew Stephen as well as his three children. And in the wake of the 76-year-old's death, Robert, Lucy, and Timothy Hawking are honoring him and his achievements.
"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," the trio said in a statement to The Associated Press. "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."
Robert, Lucy, and Tim all come from Stephen's 30-marriage to his wife, Jane Wilde. Robert, now 52, helped his mother take care of Stephen as the symptoms of Stephen's motor neurone disease worsened. The Sun reports Robert has since become a software engineer and now lives in Seattle, WA, with his wife and two children.
Lucy, 47, started her career as a journalist and then transitioned into creative writing. She and her father co-wrote a five-part children's book series about science and space travel, starting with 2007's George's Secret Key to the Universe. Per Newsweek, the Royal Astronomical Society made Lucy a fellow "in recognition of the work she has done in explaining science to a young audience."
Meanwhile, Tim is a loyalty executive at Lego, according to The Sun. The 38-year-old once told BBC documentarians his childhood was challenging due to his father's condition. "My dad was able to speak with his own, natural voice for those first years, but it was incredibly difficult to understand what he was saying — particularly for me at such a young age," he said. "As a three-year-old, I had no understanding of what he was saying. I didn't really have any communication with him for the first five years of my life."
That all changed, though, once Stephen got a voice synthesizer. "It was somewhat ironic that Dad losing his voice was actually the start of us being able to form a relationship," Tim said.
As unconventional as the Hawking children's lives might have been, it seems like they at least displayed a normal level of teenage rebellion. Tim also revealed he would prank his dad by programming obscenities into the synthesizer!