Doctors offered to turn off Stephen Hawking’s life support 33 years ago. He just turned 76
Today we can say “Happy Birthday” to the man with one of the greatest minds of his generation; Mr Stephen William Hawking.
The English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author is regarded as one of the greatest scientists and his work has influenced the teachings of general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Since 1963, Hawking has been suffering from a form motor neurone disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS for short.
At the time doctors gave him just two years to live.
The disease kills most of its victims within the first five years but he has defied the odds of doctors and has continued to survive for more than 50 years.
This could have been a very different situation.
In 1985 his then-wife refused doctors’ query of whether to turn off his life support machine when he was struck down with pneumonia.
Hawking was in a drug-induced coma in a Geneva hospital at the time. In the 2013 documentary Hawking, he said