Stephen Hawking: Thousands sign Gonville & Caius condolence books

image captionThe professor was a fellow at Gonville & Caius College for more than 50 years

Thousands of people from around the world have signed condolence books in the wake of the death of renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

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

Condolence books at Gonville & Caius College have been signed by more than 2,780 people, with more than 600 people paying tribute in an online version.

College master Prof Sir Alan Fersht said it was "moved" by the response.

Hawking had been a fellow at Gonville & Caius, part of the University of Cambridge, for more than 50 years.

The college said that after Prof Hawking's death so many people wanted to sign the original condolence book they had to bring in three more.

They will be bound together and presented to his family at a later date, it added.

image captionMore than 2,780 have so far signed condolence books at Gonville & Caius College

"All of us at Gonville & Caius have been much moved by the extraordinary response to Stephen's death," said Prof Fersht.

"We're glad we have also offered the chance to send messages via a virtual condolence book, prompting messages from China, India, Malaysia, Australia and more.

"It has been an honour for the college to be a focus for tributes to Stephen."

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

His ashes will be interred at Westminster Abbey later this year.

image captionThe flag flew at half mast on Prof Hawking's college, Gonville and Caius, on the day his death was announced

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