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Stephen Hawking Rushed To Hospital In England

World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking was rushed to a hospital in Cambridge, England, and was very ill, University of Cambridge officials said Monday.

The university said Hawking, 67, was taken by ambulance to Addenbrooke's Hospital. The hospital is part of the Cambridge University system, where Hawking has taught mathematics for more than 30 years.

"He is comfortable and being kept in hospital overnight," said Gregory Hayman, head of the university's communications office. University officials did not release information about the nature of the professor's illness.

Hawking, who was diagnosed at 21 with ALS, an incurable degenerative disease known as Lou Gehrig's disease, has been in a wheelchair and almost completely paralyzed for years. He communicates using an electronic voice synthesizer that he activates with his fingers.

He has garnered acclaim for his work on black holes and achieved worldwide fame for his book A Brief History of Time in 1988. He has written numerous books and articles, including a fictional book for children, George's Secret Key to the Universe.

At the same time Hawking was receiving accolades for his scientific accomplishments, he was becoming a pop culture icon. He appeared as himself in episodes of The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation and in a skit on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Hawking holds the post of Cambridge's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. On Monday, his university colleagues hoped for his speedy recovery.

"Professor Hawking is a remarkable colleague. We all hope he will be amongst us again soon," said professor Peter Haynes, head of the university's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

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