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

Prof Stephen Hawking
Image caption The professor was a fellow at Gonville and Caius College for more than 50 years

The ashes of Professor Stephen Hawking will be interred next to the grave of Sir Isaac Newton at Westminster Abbey, it has been revealed.

The renowned theoretical physicist's final resting place will also be near that of Charles Darwin, who was buried there in 1882.

Prof Hawking, who had motor neurone disease, died on 14 March, aged 76, at his home in Cambridge.

The Dean of Westminster said the location was "entirely fitting".

A private funeral service will take place at Great St Mary's, the University Church on 31 March, Prof Hawking's family said.

The church is close to Gonville and Caius College, where Prof Hawking had been a fellow for more than 50 years.

Image copyright Andrew Matthews/PA
Image caption Prof Hawking's ashes will be interred at Westminster Abbey later this year
Image caption The flag flew at half mast on Prof Hawking's college, Gonville and Caius, on the day his death was announced

The thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey will take place later in the year.

Announcing funeral arrangements on the college website, Prof Hawking's children Lucy, Robert and Tim said: "Our father lived and worked in Cambridge for over 50 years.

"He was an integral and highly recognisable part of the university and the city.

"For this reason, we have decided to hold his funeral in the city that he loved so much and which loved him. Our father's life and work meant many things to many people, both religious and non-religious. So, the service will be both inclusive and traditional, reflecting the breadth and diversity of his life."

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: "It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists.

"Sir Isaac Newton was buried in the Abbey in 1727. Charles Darwin was buried beside Isaac Newton in 1882."

He added: "We believe it to be vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe."

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