Cambridge scientist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

Renowned British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday 14 March 2018.

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Donations to Motor Neurone Disease charity soar after death of Prof Stephen Hawking

Credit: PA

The Motor Neurone Disease Association says it has had an influx of donations this morning following the death of Professor Stephen Hawking.

The charity, based in Northampton, says it's had so much traffic over the past couple of hours the website has now crashed. Professor Hawking became Patron of MND Association in 2008.

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Prof Hawking survived for around half a century after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), despite being told he had just years to live when he was diagnosed

"All of us at the MND Association have been extremely saddened by the news of Professor Hawking's passing. Through so many years in the public eye he did a huge amount to raise awareness of motor neurone disease, yet he never allowed himself to be defined by his illness. His approach to life with MND is an example to all of us."

– Sally Light, chief executive, MND Association

The disease kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis. Yet Prof Hawking was diagnosed with the condition in his early 20s and lived until he was 76.

The condition is fatal, and usually progresses rapidly, affecting the brain and spinal cord.

The MND Association states that the condition affects everyone differently - not all symptoms will affect everyone and symptoms progress at varying speeds.

It affects around 5,000 people in the UK. There is no cure for MND and there is not a clear answer about what causes the condition.

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