Actor Eddie Redmayne paid tribute to late physicist Stephen Hawking — the brilliant man he portrayed on the big screen.
Redmayne, who took home an Oscar for his work acting as Hawking’s in the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything,” released a statement to Deadline upon learning the visionary scientist died on Tuesday.
“We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet,” the 36-year-old said in a statement.
“My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family.”
Stephen Hawking, legendary physicist, dead at 76
Redmayne met with Hawking prior to the film in order to research the role. He called meeting the professor “one of the great moments of [his] life.”
The actor later revealed that he saw Hawking just before the film, but didn’t have much time to chat.
“I saw him just before he saw the film,” Redmayne said, telling him, “”I’m really nervous, but I hope you enjoy the film. Let me know what you think.’ He took a wee while to type out his response. I literally was crying inside! And then he said in his iconic voice, ‘I will let you know what I think, good or otherwise.’”
Hawking, who was diagnosed with ALS at age 22 and died Tuesday at 76, ended up praising Redmayne’s performance.
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“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. Seeing the film has given me the opportunity to reflect on my life. Although I’m severely disabled, I have been successful in my scientific work,” Hawking wrote on his Facebook page.
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“I travel widely and have been to Antarctica and Easter Island, down in a submarine and up on a zero gravity flight. One day I hope to go into space. I’ve been privileged to gain some understanding of the way the universe operates through my work. But it would be an empty universe indeed without the people that I love,” he continued.
Hawking, a Cambridge University professor, was perhaps best known for his best-selling book “A Brief History of Time.”
His family confirmed his passing in a statement Tuesday.
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“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” the family said. “His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”
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