OXFORD University has led tributes to Stephen Hawking.

The institution and individual professors have described Professor Hawking, who studied at University College here, as one of the greatest minds of his time and a warm, kind and good-humoured man.

Oxford University physics professor Steven Balbus said Stephen Hawking's greatest contribution had been his proof that Black Holes do actually emit a tiny amount of radiation, now known as 'Hawking radiation'.

The Oxford Times:

Prof. Hawking giving a talk at Oxford University Mathematical Institute in October. Picture: Richard Cave

It had previously been thought that Black House sucked in all matter and light and let nothing out.

Professor Balbus explained: "Hawking's greatest conceptual contribution was to prove, not only that black holes must exist, but that they actually shine.

"True, not by very much - a black hole with the mass of the sun would shine like a body just barely above absolute zero - but by assigning an actual temperature to the mass of a black hole, Hawking showed that black holes are intimately connected to what was thought to be a completely different area of physics (thermodynamics).

"Though this work is now more than 40 years old, we are still struggling today with it’s implications. That is the hallmark of great physics."

The Oxford Times:

An artist's impression of the Black Hole at the centre of the Milky Way. Picture: Ute Kraus, Universität Hildesheim

Prof Balbus also said Professor Hawking's 'transformative' discoveries would be studied for centuries to come.

Professor Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning, aged 76.

In a statement, his children 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.

"His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.

"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."

Prof Hawking came to Oxford last year for a talk at the Oxford Mathematics Institute.

The Oxford Times:

Prof. Hawking giving a talk at Oxford University Mathematical Institute. Picture: Richard Cave

The sold out talk was also streamed online as he gave the inaugural lecture named in honour of his long-time collaborator Roger Penrose.

Many have taken to Twitter to share their tributes for Prof Hawking. 

Oxford University's student account on Twitter said Prof Hawking was one of the 'world's greatest minds'. 

A number of people are sharing a picture of members of Oxford University Boat Club, including the young scientist.

Prof Hawking was born on January 8 1942 in Oxford, the eldest of four children, and went on to become one of the world's most acclaimed cosmologists.

He went on to study as an undergraduate at University College, Oxford in 1959.

The Oxford Times:

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

He was diagnosed with ALS, a rare form of motor neurone disease, in his 20s, eventually becoming wheelchair-bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication.

But despite this, he continued to travel the world giving science lectures and writing scientific papers about the basic laws which govern the universe.

With Roger Penrose, he showed that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.

The Oxford Times:

File photo of Stephen Hawking as a young man from the Oxford Mail archive.

These results indicated that it was necessary to unify general relativity with quantum mechanics, the other great scientific development of the first half of the 20th century.

He also discovered that black holes should not be completely black, but rather should emit radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear - this radiation is now called Hawking Radiation.

His book, A Brief History Of Time, has sold more than 10 million copies.

The Theory of Everything, a film based on his life starring Eddie Redmayne, won the actor an Oscar in 2014. The critically-accalimed biopic was also awarded three Baftas.

The Oxford Times:

Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

The University of Cambridge, where Professor Hawking studied and worked, will open a book of condolence at Gonville and Caius College.