Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and philosopher who died in March, had his ashes interred at the resting place of two other legendary scientists in London’s Westminster Abbey.
His ashes were placed between the tombs of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin at a memorial service Friday. Hawking died at 76 from a progressive neurodegenerative disease that he lived with for decades.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Hawking in a BBC drama, gave a reading at the service, which was attended by more than 1,000 people. Astronaut Tim Peak also provided a reading.
Hawking’s ashes were interred in the Scientists’ Corner, a section of the abbey that honors people who made significant contributions in the field of science, according to The Los Angeles Times. The iconic scientist covered topics from the nature of philosophy to the existence of extraterrestrial life. His 1988 book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
He was diagnosed at the age of 21 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a debilitating illness that doctors estimated would kill him in just two years. But he lived for decades with the disease, using a wheelchair to move and a computer system to speak.
After the service, Hawking’s voice was set to be beamed into space. His words, which his daughter, Lucy Hawking, said are a message of peace and hope, was set to music by Greek composer Vangelis.
She said the recording would be beamed to the closest black hole, “which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star,” she said.
When Hawking’s funeral service was held in March, hundreds of mourners lined the streets of London to pay their respects as a hearse carrying his body drove by. The service was held “in the city that he loved so much and which loved him,” his family said at the time.
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