Stephen Hawking's ashes to be interred near Sir Isaac Newton's grave

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Stephen Hawking's ashes are to be interred alongside the likes of Charles Darwin and Issac Newton at Westminster Abbey in London, it has been announced.

British physicist Hawking died aged 76 on March 14 after a cosmic career in which his mental genius transcended his physical disability. Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution was one of the most pioneering of all time, was also buried there in 1882.

The statement says "Our father lived and worked in Cambridge for over 50 years".

A private funeral service is set to take place at Great St Mary's, Cambridge University's Church, on 31 March, Stephen's family has confirmed.

The author of A Brief History of Time, from 1979 to 2009 he held the post of Lucasian professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663.

This will be followed by a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey later this year. "Other famous scientists are buried or memorialised nearby".

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The Dean of Westminster, Reverend John Hall, said it is "entirely fitting" that Mr Hawking's remains will be placed in the abbey "near those of distinguished fellow scientists". The site is close to Gonville and Caius College where Hawking was a fellow.

The professor's family said he was an "integral and highly recognisable part of the university and the city".

His slowly-progressing disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (often called ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) left him wheelchair bound for much of his life. "I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many", he wrote on his website.

Hawking was famously an atheist, something his children Lucy, Robert and Tim touched on, as they thanked people for their "wonderful tributes" and messages of condolence.

Hawking's achievements are too many to list, but his tireless work in the fields of physics and cosmology have had a huge impact on scientific research efforts for decades, and his findings will continue to make an impact for untold centuries to come.

"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years".

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