The private funeral service for renowned genius Stephen Hawking was held last Saturday, March 20. Family, friends, and supporters came to pay tribute to Hawking, including The Theory of Everything actor Eddie Redmayne.
Professor Hawking's Funeral
Last Saturday, crowds lined the streets of Cambridge for the funeral service of world renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Although the funeral service was private, the crowds remained respectfully silent outside University Church Great St. Mary but applauded when his casket arrived and was carried into the church. It was said to be his children who chose the church as the venue for the service.
Among the guests who paid their last respects to Hawking were model Lily Cole, Brian May of the band Queen, playwright Alan Bennett, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who portrayed Hawking and his first wife, Jane, in the Academy Award-winning biopic The Theory of Everything.
Tributes For Professor Hawking
Hawking's eldest son, Robert, as well as Britain's Astronomer Royal Martin Rees gave the eulogies for Hawking. Rees, who was a longtime friend of Hawking's, reportedly quoted Socrates in his reading.
Meanwhile, Redmayne, who remained friends with Hawking even after the filming of the 2014 biopic was concluded, read a passage from the Bible for his friend. He was also one of the first to release a statement after Hawking's death last March 14.
According to Hawking's family, his life and works touched the lives of many people, religious and nonreligious, which is why his funeral service was also both traditional and inclusive, so as to reflect the diversity of his life.
Little tributes were also made along with the big ones, in the form of the white flowers adorning Hawking's casket, which were lilies of the universe variety and roses of the polar star variety. Further, the church bells were tolled 76 times, representing each year of his brilliant life.
In a statement, Hawking's children thanked everyone who sent their condolences and paid tribute to their father and expressed that their decision to conduct the services at Cambridge, as it served as their father's home for over 50 years.
Throughout his life, Hawking made significant contributions in his field and even in popular culture worldwide. Thousands more messages for Hawking from all over the world have already been posted at the Gonville & Caius college website where anyone can send their condolences. His cremation is scheduled at a later date, and his ashes will be buried at Westminster Abbey, near the graves of fellow bright minds, Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.
"Look up at the stars and not down at your feet" - Professor Stephen Hawking
1942-2018 https://t.co/h8uWznhEpb pic.twitter.com/RVeQx2BTxP — Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) March 14, 2018