Stephen Hawking was a remarkable man who had an extraordinary mind that inspired millions around the world.

The visionary physicist — who discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing — left a huge vacuum in the world with his passing in the early hours of Wednesday.

Piers Morgan, a British journalist and television personality, said Hawking’s life and defiance in the face a seemingly insurmountable encumbrance was a testament to the fact that “self pity is a pathetic waste of life”.

At age 22, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neurone disease, and was given two years to live.

But he did not leave the world until the age of 76.

In a tribute penned about the iconic scientist on Daily Mail, Morgan wrote that ALS is “an incurable affliction that attacks every part of the body, rendering victims incapable of walking, talking, eating or drinking unaided. Yet the brain often remains unimpaired.

“So those who endure it are still exactly the same person inside their useless torsos, and totally aware of the hellish existence they are suffering.

“For a genius like Stephen Hawking, this must have seemed like the very worst of prisons, and one from which he could never free himself. But he refused to let it crush him, and in the end, he DID free himself – mentally, if not physically.

“‘I don’t have much positive to say about Motor Neuron Disease,’ he said in 2011. ‘But it taught me not to pity myself, because others were worse off and to get on with what I still could do. I’m happier now than before I developed the condition.’

“Imagine that?

“A man with one of the world’s most brilliant minds, trapped helplessly in a motorised wheelchair for over 50 years, stating he was happier like that than as an able-bodied youth.

“His attitude reminded me of the two-line D.H. Lawrence poem, Self-Pity: ‘I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.’

“In this modern ‘victimhood’ era increasingly dominated by millennial snowflakes constantly bleating on about how terrible their life is, he was a towering testament to the power of the human spirit at its most courageous, tough and determined.”

Hawking’s most famous book, A Brief History of Time, has been translated into over 40 languages.

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