'May the angels of God welcome you': Archbishop of York adds voice to tributes for Stephen Hawking
The Archbishop of York has joined leading scientists and figures from the entertainment industry in paying tribute to Professor Stephen Hawking.
The 76-year-old passed away "peacefully" at his home in Cambridge early Wednesday morning, according to his family, after battling motor neurone disease for many decades.
Most Rev John Sentamu tweeted: "Stephen Hawking a giant of science & humanity whose hope & trust enabled him to keep the greatest equaliser - death - at a long distance.
"Very honoured he came to my graduation at Cambridge. Sojourner Truth go well and may the Angels of God welcome you! Love and Prayers to your daughters."
The renowned British scientist was given just years to live after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his twenties.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Prime Minister also paid tribute to the professor.
Professor Stephen Hawking’s contribution to science was as limitless as the universe he devoted his life to understanding. His was a life lived with bravery and passion. As we pray for all those who mourn him, may he rest in peace.— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) March 14, 2018
Theresa May said he was "one of the greatest scientists of his generation" and "his legacy will not be forgotten", while Most Revd Justin Welby highlighted Prof Hawking's contribution to science.
He tweeted: "Professor Stephen Hawking's contribution to science was as limitless as the universe he devoted his life to understanding.
"His was a life lived with bravery and passion.
"As we pray for all those who mourn him, may he rest in peace."
Prof Hawking was one of the world's finest scientific minds and was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22.
He eventually became confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication.
Despite this, he continued to travel the world, giving lectures and writing scientific papers about the basic laws that govern the universe.
He explained his views on 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 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."
Stephen Hawking was a defining force in the world of science whose loss will be felt in every corner of the globe. I was sad that we didn’t agree on everything, but he was still a hero to me as one of our greatest ever thinkers - he inspired with his courage as well as his words.— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) March 14, 2018
Prof Hawking was also 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, and less than two months ago a campaign group backed by Prof Hawking was granted permission to challenge Mr Hunt in the High Court over plans to allow private companies to play a greater role in the service.
Prof Hawking was born on 8th January 1942 in Oxford, the eldest of four children, and went on to become one of the world's most acclaimed cosmologists.
The University of Cambridge said Prof Hawking was "an inspiration to millions" and his work will leave "an indelible legacy". It will open a book of condolence at Gonville and Caius College.
His rise to fame and relationship with his first wife, Jane, who was a Christian, was dramatised in a 2014 film, The Theory Of Everything, in which Eddie Redmayne put in an Oscar-winning performance as the physicist battling with a devastating 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."
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