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Stephen W. Hawking, brilliant physicist and Cambridge University staff member, died in the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to a spokesman from Cambridge University. He was 76 at the time of his death. In the hours since the news was first revealed, reactions from those whose lives Hawking touched have started to come out. In the early hours of the morning The Theory of Everything star Eddie Redmaybe paid tribute to the man he played on the big screen, noting,
We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family.
Eddie Redmayne portrayed a young Stephen Hawking in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, a film which picks up while Hawking is still a student at Cambridge University. The film spans the period of time when Hawking's muscles began to fail during the early years of his romance with Jane Wilde. He later lost the ability to talk and his marriage fell apart, which is when Hawking figured out how to write A Brief History of Time (which has now shot up to the top of the bestseller list) and romanced his second wife Elaine. In a statement to Deadline, Redmayne touched on meeting Stephen Hawking just before shooting The Theory of Everything and has said that he felt a little silly meeting Hawking, noting that he had "verbal diarrhea," and that he made an astrological sign goof in front of the famous scientist.
Still, Stephen Hawking had previously spoken out about Eddie Redmayne's performance, explaining he did feel The Theory of Everything was an authentic portrayal.
I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well in The Theory of Everything movie. He spent time with ALS sufferers so he could be authentic. At times, I thought he was me.
The Theory of Everything wasn't Hawking's only contribution to the world of pop culture, either. The man also dabbled in acting, having appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory, as well as doing voice work for animated programs like The Simpsons. Eddie Redmayne isn't the only actor to have spoken out about Stephen Hawking's contributions to entertainment. The cast of The Big Bang Theory also spoke out about working with Hawking, with many of them noting his sense of humor in their posts. You can read more about those tributes, here. All in all, through all of Stephen Hawking's brilliant contributions to science and to to the realm of pop culture, he left his mark on the earth and will be missed by many.