As it was previously reported, Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s greatest physicists who also miraculously devised his theories while suffering from ALS, died yesterday at the age of 76. According to reports, Hawkings died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease that degenerates nerves and muscle functions.
Hawkings was first diagnosed with the disorder over fifty years ago when he was just 21-years-old. Doctors gave him only two years to live, but he continued to work and made some of the most innovate discoveries in science.
Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, is a disease that disrupts cell function in the brain and spinal cord making it nearly impossible for a person to perform basic motor functions including walking, speaking, swallowing, and even using one’s lungs.
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They first begin with symptoms like slurred speech and muscle weaknesses and gradually get worse. Each person suffers differently, with some having the signs worsen quickly while others are fortunate enough for it to take years.
The average survival time of people with ALS is only three years, but Stephen lived for over fifty years. Another legendary figure in pop culture to suffer from Lou Gehrig’s disease is the guitar player Jason Becker, who came to prominence in the early 1980’s and was about to set out on tour with Eddie Van Halen before contracting the fatal illness.
Men between the ages of forty and sixty are typically inflicted with the debilitating disease, but sometimes it occurs in women also. Despite it being awful, fortunately, only a small portion of people are diagnosed.
However, the ones that do rarely live, making Stephen’s case an extraordinary exception. Lucie Bruijn, the chief scientist who runs the organization dedicated to ALS, says that she’s never heard of anyone living as long as Stephen.
Nevertheless, Stephen was an exceptional man for more than one reason. Hawking even managed to avoid dementia, a typical symptom which goes along with ALS.