Renowned British physicist, Stephen Hawking, has passed away at age 76.

Amongst a range of other work, Hawking was best known for his theories on black holes and relativity, predicting that black holes emit radiation.

He is also credited with introducing key scientific concepts into the mainstream, with his book A Brief History of Time selling more than 10 million copies and being translated into 35 languages.

Hawking spent the majority of his career as an academic at the University of Cambridge.

From 1979 to 2009 he held the position of Lucasian Professor, a position previously held by Isaac Newton.

In recent times, Hawking had formed some strong opinions on Artificial Intelligence.

“The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” Hawking told a Web Summit in Lisbon late last year.

“We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management, and prepare for its consequences well in advance.

“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be.”

Another one of his more controversial theories was his belief that computer viruses should be considered as a life form.

“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image,” he famously said.

In 1963, at the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, and given two years to live.

Although his physical abilities began to decline, he continued his career in academia, and in 1986 he received the Equalizer computer program, which allowed him to communicate despite not having use of his voice.