Stephen Hawking's second ex-wife today said his death aged 76 would have been a 'relief' for her former husband.
The scientist, who inspired millions around the world, passed away at home in Cambridge this morning more than 50 years after he was given just two years to live.
His second wife Elaine, his former nurse who he married in 1995 but divorced in 2006, has also said he proposed to her twice after they split up following allegations she had attacked him.
Speaking from her home in Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire today she said: 'His death was a relief for him, I believe.
'He was the love of my life and I very reluctantly had to let go of him. He proposed to me twice after our divorce because he couldn't quite cope with it.
'I know his first wife likes to put me down, but we had 22 years together which was wonderful. For us our marriage was loving. People didn't like it and they tore us apart'.
Professor Hawking's death has sparked an outpouring of grief across the world.
His children visited his home today and in a statement Lucy, Robert and Tim said: 'We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
'He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever'.