I was in the middle of the local pub trivia weekly contest last night when the MC took a moment to let the room know that Stephen Hawking had died. Mercifully no one thought it was one of his more tasteless jokes. It quieted the room, and it took a few minutes for even this bunch of mostly drunken norms to get back into the game.
A lot of other people with far more credentials than I have plenty to say about his prodigious impact on the rest of the world. For myself, I can say that what he brought us was a rare ability to speak about very complex topics in a way that made it approachable, and understandable within the realm of the average person.
His life was been one long series of impossibilities, starting with even living it at all. But he did it - he lived, he had a family and a brilliant career pushing back the limits of our understanding.
I hope he's somewhere in the Hereafter getting the run-down on life, the universe, and everything.