Lovelock died Tuesday “surrounded by his family on his 103rd birthday,” his family said in a statement published in the Guardian and circulated on social media.
“In the world, he was best known as a pioneer of science, climate prophet and creator of the Gaia theory,” the statement said. “For us, he was a loving husband and a wonderful father with a boundless sense of curiosity, a mischievous sense of humor and a passion for nature.”
Lovelock’s family said that six months ago “he was still able to walk along the coast near his home in Dorset and take part in interviews”, but recently his health has deteriorated due to an unfortunate fall.
“He passed away at 21:55 due to complications from the fall,” the family said.
Born in Letchworth Garden City, England, Lovelock has made many contributions to the scientific community, including the highly influential theory of Gaia, which views the Earth as a model in which its living and non-living parts interact as a complex system that is essentially a single organism.
He was an early proponent of climate change action, and some of his ideas have shaped the way climate scientists and biologists think about the world’s ecosystems today.
“James Lovelock has made tremendous contributions to scientific research, from developing tools to search for life on Mars to building an electron capture detector,” the Science Museum Group, which acquired the rights to the Lovelock archive in 2012, said in a statement. .
“On behalf of our colleagues at the Science Museum Group, we want to express our deepest condolences to his wife Sandy and family,” the group said in a statement.
The Guardian global media editor Jonathan Watts, who knew Lovelock and released a statement on behalf of the family, said he was deeply saddened by the loss of “a brilliant, hilarious, caring friend.”
“He will be greatly missed, although his legacy is all around us,” he said.