As news of renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s passing at the age of 76 filtered in on Wednesday, millions paid tribute to the iconic Brit, with footballing superstar Neymar leading the extolments with a post on Instagram.

Você tem que ter uma atitude positiva e tirar o melhor da situação na qual se encontra. Stephen Hawking

A post shared by Nj 🇧🇷 👻 neymarjr (@neymarjr) on


Neymar, who’s recuperating in Brazil after an ankle surgery, captioned the post with a Hawking quote which, after translation, reads, “You have to have a positive attitude and get the best of the situation you are in,”.

Hawking, who battled Lou Gehrig’s disease for several decades, breathed his last in the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to a statement made by his family.

No details of his demise were offered, save that he ‘died peacefully’.

The Oxford-born Hawking had been paralysed from the neck down for many years and was unable to communicate verbally.

However, despite all the odds being against him, he managed to communicate via a speech-generating device and continued to work on his theories and was a leading figure in his field.

Despite the fact that he never won the coveted Nobel Prize, Hawking was considered by his peers as a visionary and won almost every other accolade there was to win. The twice-married physicist is survived by three children.

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Meanwhile, Neymar has a race against time as he battles to get fit in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The quadrennial tournament kicks-off on June 14, with Brazil set to play their opener vs Switzerland on June 17.

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While in theory the 26-year-old Brazilian will be in contention to feature against the Swiss, the fact that he will be short of match fitness could prove telling as the South Americans bid to lift an unprecedented sixth World Cup.