The family of planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger told the BBC his death was "devastating and unbelievable".
The pioneering scientist, who was best known for the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission to Mars, became a professor in interplanetary science at the Open University in 1991.
He also earned a host of other qualifications and numerous awards during his prestigious career.
More top news
Approaching Atlantic frontal systems will give a wet and windy night right across the UK with some heavy bursts of rain for everyone.
Police said 375 people attended a rally in Newcastle by the anti-Islam group Pegida, while 2000 people joined a counter-demonstration.
Kelly Osbourne has quit Fashion Police after the E! show came under fire over a comment Giuliana Rancic made about Zendaya's dreadlocks.