Eddie Redmayne Honored Stephen Hawking In The Perfect Way At The Physicist's Funeral

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On Saturday, March 31, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking was laid to rest in England. Reportedly, thousands of mourners lined the streets as the scientist's family and friends prepared to say their goodbyes. As reported by People, actor Eddie Redmayne attended Hawking's funeral, and the 36-year-old even did a reading to help eulogize the man who he embodied so memorably onscreen in 2014's The Theory of Everything.

Redmayne seems to have remained close to Hawking even after filming for The Theory of Everything came to an end. The actor was one of the first to pay tribute to the physicist after he passed on March 14 at the age of 76. He previously issued a statement to People that read,

"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."

According to the BBC, Redmayne read from Ecclesiastes 3.1-11. Although Hawking was an atheist, this particular Biblical passage seems like a fitting way to honor his memory. The verses read:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Time was something doctors always told Hawking that he had little of due to his ALS, even as he continued to defy their expectations long into his 70s. The passage Redmayne chose to read is one that captures the spirit of a man who lived every moment of his life with a deep sense of purpose and a keen understanding that time is finite.

Redmayne was far from the only famous face who attended Hawking's funeral. Lily Cole, Elon Musk, Barbara Broccoli, Alan Bennett, and Dara O'Briain were among the mourners, according to People. The BBC reports that Hawking's oldest son Robert, his former student Professor Fay Dowker, and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees also spoke at the funeral. In her eulogy for her teacher, Dowker reportedly said,

"Stephen was my teacher, mentor and friend.
I, like many who knew and loved him, had come to think of him as immortal and our sorrow is tinged with a feeling of disbelief that he is no longer here. But his influence and legacy will live forever."

It's true that Hawking did feel larger than life. He was a man whose work quite literally changed the world, and it's hard to believe that he's gone. However, his story will live on through his family, his colleagues, his contributions to the world of science, and, yes, through Redmayne's performance. While the film may seem like a small thing in comparison to the incredible life that the physicist lived, it's yet another part of his legacy, and one that may well introduce his work to people who wouldn't have encountered it otherwise.

The world has truly lost a great human now that Hawking has passed away, but as Redmayne's reading so beautifully illustrated, he made the absolute best use of his time while he was in this world.