Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and others paid tribute on Wednesday to the late Stephen Hawking.
Hawking died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England, a family spokesperson said. He was 76.
He was a visionary physicist and author known for his work on black holes and the cosmos. To many, he was one of the greatest minds in the world — and certainly the best-known and most loved scientist.
Hawking took science into the mainstream with a series of best-selling books, including A Brief History of Time.
Apple’s Tim Cook praised Hawking and his work in a tweet on Wednesday, using one of his best-known quotes and saying that “we will always be inspired by his life and ideas.”
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Stephen Hawking. We will always be inspired by his life and ideas. RIP.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 14, 2018
And other former Apple staff paid their respects, too. Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with the late Steve Jobs in 1976, told the BBC that “Stephen Hawking’s integrity and scientific dedication placed him above pure brilliance.” Wozniak had recently joined the late physicist in signing a letter in opposition to weaponized artificial intelligence.
While Hawking’s inspiration on the science and tech industries is well-known, the physicist and Apple had actually crossed paths in the past.
Hawking suffered from motor neuron disease for much of his life. He was bound to a wheelchair and used a custom communication system to speak. In recent years, that communication system was re-built by Intel and based on Apple’s SwiftKey predictive technology, TheNextWeb reported in 2014.
The physicist even debuted his own app in the iOS App Store in 2016. Dubbed “Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe,” an app that highlights and illustrates various topics that Hawking worked on, such as space-time, black holes, and the expanding universe. At the time, Hawking described the app as a way to “highlight the excitement of new discoveries, and to offer an understanding of the new picture of reality that is emerging as a result.”