Pro­fes­sor ‘fun­ni­est man’ ac­tor ever met

Evening Telegraph (Late Extra Edition) - - UK WORLD TODAY -

RENOWNED Bri­tish physi­cist Pro­fes­sor Stephen Hawk­ing has died at the age of 76.

He died peace­fully at his home in Cam­bridge in the early hours of today, his fam­ily said.

Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing, one of the world’s finest sci­en­tific minds, was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease in 1964 at the age of 22 and was given just a few years to live.

He even­tu­ally be­came con­fined to a wheel­chair and de­pen­dent on a com­put­erised voice sys­tem for com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

De­spite that, he con­tin­ued to travel the world giv­ing lec­tures and writ­ing sci­en­tific pa­pers about the ba­sic laws that gov­ern the universe.

Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing ex­plained the Big Bang and black holes in his best-sell­ing book A Brief His­tory Of Time.

In a state­ment, his chil­dren Lucy, Robert and Tim said: “We are deeply sad­dened 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.”

The Univer­sity of Cam­bridge said Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing was “an in­spi­ra­tion to mil­lions” and his work will leave “an in­deli­ble legacy”.

He ar­rived at the univer­sity in 1962 as a PHD stu­dent, and rose through the ranks to be­come the Lu­casian Pro­fes­sor of Math­e­mat­ics, a po­si­tion once held by Sir Isaac New­ton, in 1979.

Nasa re­mem­bered the pro­fes­sor as a “renowned physi­cist and am­bas­sador of science”, while in­ven­tor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Bern­ers-lee, tweeted: “We have lost a colos­sal mind and a won­der­ful spirit.”

Bri­tish as­tro­naut Tim Peake said he “in­spired gen­er­a­tions to look be­yond our own blue planet and ex­pand our un­der­stand­ing of the universe”.

Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing was born in Ox­ford on Jan­uary 8 1942, the el­dest of four chil­dren.

His rise to fame and re­la­tion­ship with his first wife Jane was drama­tised in a 2014 film, The The­ory Of Every­thing, in which Ed­die Red­mayne put in an Bafta and Os­car-win­ning per­for­mance as the physi­cist bat­tling with ill­ness.

Red­mayne said in a state­ment: “We have lost a truly beau­ti­ful mind, an as­ton­ish­ing sci­en­tist and the fun­ni­est man I have ever had the plea­sure to meet.

“My love and thoughts are with his ex­tra­or­di­nary fam­ily.”

The pro­fes­sor was a vo­cal cham­pion of the NHS and un­til his fi­nal months sparred with Health Sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt. He re­cently said he would not have had such a long life with­out the NHS.

The Univer­sity of Cam­bridge will open a book of con­do­lence.

Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing and (in­set) with ac­tor Ed­die Red­mayne and his Bafta.

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