Money & Power

Here's How Stephen Hawking Made His Fortune-and What Might Happen to It

The world-famous physicist died early Wednesday morning.
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Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died early Wednesday morning at his home in the United Kingdom, leaving behind three children and three grandchildren, and a fortune he amassed through book sales and prizes.

Hawking, who was 76, published A Brief History of Time in 1988, and the groundbreaking book has since sold more than 10 million copies and been translated into 40 languages. Estimates of how much the scientist might have earned for that book alone are as high as nearly $6 million, and he "also made lucrative sums from other books," the Daily Mail noted in 2006.

That year, Hawking and his second wife, Elaine Mason, divorced after 11 years of marriage. The couple had shared a "$3.6 million chalet-style home in Newnham, an expensive section of Cambridge," Vanity Fair reported, but their terms of their divorce settlement were not revealed.


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Elaine and Stephen Hawking in 2002

Hawking also made money through product endorsements. He earned $2 million for promoting an eyeglass store chain, among other British businesses, on television in 2004, for example.

As a professor, he probably earned more than $110,000 a year, which Times Higher Education reported as the average salary for a Cambridge University professor in 2011-2012 academic year.

In 2013, Hawking was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics set up by Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner, which came with a $3-million award. All in all, celebritynetworth.com reports his net worth was $20 million.

While his heirs could inherit that entire sum, it's possible that Hawking left some of it to charitable organizations like his own foundation and SOS Children's Villages, which is dedicated to caring for orphaned and abandoned children. The non-governmental organization describes the late scientist as "a long-time friend" who began supporting the cause in 1990.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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