Colleagues, stars hail Stephen Hawking at London funeral

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LONDON — Some 500 invited guests were gathering for the private funeral of famed British scientist Stephen Hawking.

Crowds of them came to the University Church of St. Mary the Great in the English town of Cambridge on Saturday for the service honoring Hawking, who died on March 14 at age 76.

Actor Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Hawking in the 2014 biographical drama “The Theory of Everything,” planned to give a reading from Ecclesiastes during the service. There will also be a reading by Astronomer Royal Martin Reese and eulogies by one of Hawking’s children and a former student.

The bell at the church, known locally as Great St. Mary’s, will toll 76 times.

Hawking, who suffered from motor neurone disease, was known for his groundbreaking research into black holes and other phenomena.

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