Stephen Hawking died yesterday at the age of 76. His family hasn't given a cause of death yet. He was the theoretical physicist who developed ALS when he was a 21-year-old graduate student. It paralyzed him, and eventually he could only communicate using a cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device. That gave him his iconic computer voice, recognizable the world over.
His most famous equation explains the dissolution of black holes, tying gravity together with quantum particle physics in a way that had never been done before, proving that all things experience entropy. If that last sentence blew your mind, Google it.
Mr. Hawking was a BIG influence on my life and one reason I fell in love with science. He was also inspirational in the fact that he considered himself LUCKY, because his disease gave more time to pursue the quest for knowledge.
Here's a TED talk he gave in 2008.