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4/21/2009
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Stephen Hawking Hospitalized, Family Hopeful

The world-renowned physics professor has been fighting a chest infection for a couple of weeks and had to cancel an appearance in Arizona because of it.

World-renowned physics professor Stephen Hawking is expected to make a full recovery from an illness that hospitalized him this week.

The University of Cambridge released a statement earlier this week saying that Hawking appeared to be very ill and had been hospitalized soon after returning to the United Kingdom from a trip to America. Local and international media reports said that Hawking had been fighting a chest infection for a couple of weeks and had to cancel an appearance in Arizona because of it.

He was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, according to a statement posted on his Web site Monday. A statement issued Tuesday sounded more hopeful.

"He is comfortable and his family is looking forward to him making a full recovery," the statement explained.

Hawking's Web site was modified so visitors could only access the statements.

"Due to very high demand, the Web site has been simplified to keep the server online," another statement explained, adding an apology for the lack of in-depth content normally available on the site.

Hawking has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disabling nervous system disease that has paralyzed him. The disease is progressive and fatal and Hawking has lived with it for about 45 years, far longer than expected. Nearly 25 years ago, he became seriously ill with pneumonia and lost his voice as a result.

Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He's known for his contributions to quantum gravity and, specifically, black holes.


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