Stephen Hawking's Funeral held, Eddie Redmayne gives Reading

Stephen hawking funeral st mary's church cambridge church

The hearse containing Professor Stephen Hawking arrives at University Church of St Mary the Great as mourners gather to pay their respects, in Cambridge, England, March 31.

Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, a personal friend, read from Plato's Apology 40, The Death of Socrates, which talks of the search for knowledge persisting after death.

Paying tribute to his life, the church bell rang a total of 76 times - one for each year Hawking lived.

Hawking, who battled with motor neuron disease since he was 21-years-old was farewelled in the church by what the ABC report as "space-themed music" and a flag was flown at half-mast over the town of Cambridge.

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Well-wishers have filled the streets of Cambridge for the funeral of British physicist Stephen Hawking, hailed by a leading scientist as "an imprisoned mind roaming the cosmos".

Hawking's daughter, Lucy and his first wife, Jane looked solemn as they entered the church to remember their beloved family member.

Hawking's eldest son, Robert, gave a eulogy honouring his father both as a physicist and a man.

Model and Cambridge University graduate Lily Cole, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May and comedian Dara O Briain, who made a documentary about Prof Hawking, were among those seen arriving to the funeral.

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Hawking defied predictions that he would only live for a few years, although his rare condition - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - gradually robbed him of mobility.

Later in the year, Westminster Abbey will host a Service of Thanksgiving in Hawking's honor, to place his ashes in the Abbey near Sir Isaac Newton's grave.

A file photo of Stephen Hawking, taken in 2014. So, the service will be both inclusive and traditional, reflecting the breadth and diversity of his life.

But the illness did nothing to boring his mind, and Hawking became one of the world's best-known and most inspiring scientists, known for his brilliance and his wit. His work ranged from the origins of the universe itself, through time travel and probing black holes in space. 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.

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