Stephen Hawking 'very ill' with chest infection at hospital

Stephen_hawking_240 Stephen Hawking, the acclaimed British mathematician and physicist, is currently being treated at an English hospital for a serious illness.

The professor was rushed to the Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge on Monday, April 20, reports the AP.

Hawking, 67, who was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) at age 21 has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks.

"Professor Hawking is very ill," says Gregory Hayman, the head of communications at Cambridge, where Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. "He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."

Hawking is known for his best-selling book "A Brief History of Time," his search for a unified theory of physics and his work on black holes, among other scientific and mathematical accomplishments.

Hawking's intellect, books and public appearances has made his academic celebrity cross over into pop culture where his wheelchair-bound figure and synthesized voice have become iconic.

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He's played the animated version of himself on several episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama." In the episode "They Saved Lisa's Brain," the cartoon Hawking saves Lisa from the Springfield chapter of power-hungry Mensa members, and later Homer mistakes him for Larry Flynt.

Hawking also appeared as himself in the flesh for the "Red Dwarf" anniversary special, in a skit on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and as a hologram ont he episode "Descent" on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." He hosted the series "Masters of Science Fiction" on ABC.

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