Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist and vocal defender of disability rights has passed at the age of 76. In addition to being a rock star in the scientific community, he served as a living reminder of the potential of the human mind given the physical access necessary for disabled people to thrive in their given careers. Diagnosed with motor neuron disease, Hawking spent his final day battling cuts to the UK’s National Health Service. In addition, he was against the commercialization of healthcare expressing that doing so would violate the service’s primary mission to serve the public.
Over the next few days, you will hear about how Hawking’s successes somehow over-shadowed his diagnosis or that he overcame his disabilities, but for disabled people, he was a reminder that we can succeed with disability. He never forgot to advocate for disabled people and often lamented the difficulties he faced in the academic community despite his well-known status. We celebrate the life of a man that made it to the stars and worked hard to take us along with him. He is survived by his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim.
*All gifs from giphy.com