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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Hundreds line Cambridge streets to honour Stephen Hawking

About 500 invited guests attended the funeral for the world-renowned physicist, who died on March 14

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Stephen Hawking during his funeral at the University Church of St. Mary the Great in Cambridge, Britain, 31 March 2018. (EPA)
Pallbearers carry the coffin of Stephen Hawking during his funeral at the University Church of St. Mary the Great in Cambridge, Britain, 31 March 2018. (EPA)

The life of renowned physicist and author Stephen Hawking was celebrated on Saturday in the English city of Cambridge, with hundreds of admirers lining the streets to pay their respects as the hearse carrying his body to a private funeral passed by.

There was applause outside St Mary the Great Church when the hearse arrived. The bells tolled 76 times, one for each year of Hawking's remarkable life.

He was remembered as a brave man who triumphed over motor neurone disease by continuing his research into space and time even after paralysis set in and his muscles wasted.

About 500 invited guests attended the funeral for the physicist, who died on March 14.

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Read more:

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Stephen Hawking and his five-decade fight with motor neurone disease

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Actor Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed the scientist in the 2014 biographical film The Theory of Everything, gave a reading from Ecclesiastes during the service. There was also a reading by astronomer royal Martin Reese and eulogies by one of Hawking's children and a former student.

Hawking's family released a statement saying they chose to hold the funeral "in the city that he loved so much and which loved him".

Flags were lowered to half-mast in many parts of Cambridge to pay tribute. The service was conducted by the Rev Cally Hammond, Dean of Cambridge University's Gonville and Caius College, where Hawking was a fellow for 52 years.

A private reception was held afterwards at Trinity College.

Hawking was known for his groundbreaking research into black holes and other phenomena. He was also the best-selling author of A Brief History of Time and other books and a pop culture figure known for, among other things, his appearance on The Simpsons TV series.

Hawking will be cremated and his ashes are to be interred at Westminster Abbey near the remains of 17th century scientist Isaac Newton.