Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, a former astronaut and computer systems engineer, also thanked Hawking for his work. Not even top-notch astronomers.
As an author, among his most well-known works was "A Brief History of Time".
The London Evening Standard estimated Hawking's wealth at £5 million ($6.9 million), mostly from sales of 1988's A Brief History of Time, which shifted 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. It's been called "the least-read best-seller ever". He said that there may be primitive alien life in the universe given the vastness of its nature. "There's perhaps a human element of his struggle that makes people stop and pay attention". It is why he was great, as he was relied on by so many people who have never actually met him. Hawking contracted motor neurone disease in 1963 and was given two years to live but he went on to study at Cambridge and became one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein. "There was nothing around before the Big, Big Bang", he said during a television talk show aired on National Geographic Channel, propounding his theory on what happened before the universe came into existence. "I think that caught people's attention".
ALS Canada CEO Tammy Moore said Hawking was a "vision of hope" for people with the disease. He flew in a zero-gravity plane. "Does that mean that there is a universe out there where I am smarter than you?" You are, in a way, taking trip through the mind of Stephen Hawking. It always got a big laugh. "I've been to talks Hawking has given and can not follow them myself".
The 76-year-old Hawking was Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge.
Prof Hawking previously held the Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at Cambridge, a post once held by Isaac Newton. Both physicists and astrophysicists claimed him as their own.
The discovery of Hawking radiation changed the way researchers understand the universe. "It just seemed that way from mankind's perspective", Hawking said, hinting that a lot of what we believe is derived from a human-centric perspective, which might limit the scope of human knowledge of the world. In 1974, Hawking worked on quantum theory, coming to the conclusion that black holes radiated heat, then later evaporated - it was a much debated theory across decades.
Here, we recall some of Hawking's biggest theories about life, the universe and everything.
The idea behind this was also novel because it said "black holes aren't forever", Turner said.
Long before he was diagnosed with a paralysing illness, Hawking joined the rowing team at Oxford. "He predicted that black holes would not be completely black, but would radiate in a characteristic way".
In the process, Hawking showed that black holes - freaky objects whose intense gravity was supposed to trap everything within them - can actually emit heat.