What Were Stephen Hawking’s Last Words Before His Death?

Stephen Hawking’s last words were “There is no God. No one directs the universe.” This doesn’t come as a surprise given that Hawking was an atheist during his lifetime.

The revered British physicist and science communicator had never bothered to hide his feelings on the issue of God and religion and shared them through various mediums. He described the concept of an afterlife as a fairy tale for those who cannot deal with the dark.

Stephen Hawking’s final words were published in his posthumous book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, in October 2018. This book marked his final communication to the world for now. Of course, it is possible that some other texts may be published from reflections in his personal archives in the future. Until that happens, his comment on God and the universe is taken to be his final words.

Stephen Hawking’s Final Words Were Published in his Book – ‘Brief Answers to the Big Questions’

Stephen Hawking’s final words were “There is no God. No one directs the universe.” These final words are published in his October 2018 book titled ‘Brief Answers to the Big Questions’. The book explores some of the universe’s greatest mysteries and tries to give simple answers to them. It promotes the view that science is very important in helping to solve problems on the planet Earth.

Stephen Hawking started this book during his lifetime but was unable to finish it. His colleagues and family later completed it from his personal archives and published it six months after his demise. It is the last direct message from the brilliant scientist and as such, it is taken to be his last words.

Stephen Hawking with his children and ex-wife, Jane Image Source

The Late Physicist Also Shared Strong Messages in His Final Broadcast Interview and Documentary Appearance

Other final words that Stephen Hawking had for humanity can be found in his last TV and Newspaper interviews. On the 25th of March 2018, Hawking’s last documentary appearance was aired on the Smithsonian Channel. The documentary was titled Leaving Earth: Or How to Colonize a Planet and it explored humanity’s future. One of Stephen Hawking’s final words in the documentary was that humans need to leave earth and make a new home on another planet.

According to him, we must do it now before humanity is overtaken by some disaster that we can neither anticipate nor control. Stephen hawking also remarked that “our species’ natural curiosity is what will drive us to distant planets,” and that “In the next 100 years, we will embark on our greatest ever adventure”. He also remarked that “Our destiny is in the stars.”

Stephen Hawking’s final broadcast interview was with the BBC in October 2017. During the interview, he discussed the detection of gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars. He stated that the collision of neutron stars is one way of producing gold. He also stated strong electromagnetic repulsion must be overcome by the nuclear force in order to form stable heavy nuclei like gold.

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking and Eddie Redmayne at the premiere of the movie, The Theory of Everything in 2014 Image Source

Stephen Hawking’s Voice Was Beamed into Space in March 2018

Shortly after his death, Stephen Hawking’s voice was beamed into a black hole from a European Space Agency satellite dish in Spain. This was one of the least times the world heard his synthesized voice. In the message, Stephen Hawking stated that he was very aware of the preciousness of time and urged humanity to seize the moment and act now.

He further remarked that we are all time travelers journeying together into the future and there was a need for us to work together to make that future a place we want to visit. He maintained that it can be done and urged humanity to be brave, determined, and overcome the odds. Stephen Hawking’s final words in that message were “it can be done” which many have described as poignant and a rallying call for humanity to work to save mother earth.

It must be pointed out that all the final messages from Stephen Hawking related above are not his literal last words. The literal last words must have been something personal that he shared with loved ones, for instance, his kids.

It could have also been something that he shared with one of his carers. He needed carers for much of his life as a result of the ALS disease he had suffered from. There is the possibility that his literal last words through his voice synthesizer system may have been to a care staff.

Stephen Hawking experiencing zero gravity in 2007
Stephen Hawking experiencing zero gravity in 2007

Stephen Hawking Died in 2018 at the Age of 76

Stephen Hawking died on the 14th of March 2018 in his Cambridge home. He was 76 at the time of his demise and his family announced the passing, stating that he had gone peacefully.

Hawking’s death led to an avalanche of tributes from all over the world. Fellow distinguished academics, world leaders, and even Hollywood celebrities paid him tribute. One of them was the prime minister of Britain, Theresa May, who described him as a “brilliant and extraordinary mind” and “one of the great scientists of his generation”.

Hawking’s family, notably his three children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim also paid him glowing tribute as an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. They stated that His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. They further stated they were deeply saddened by the demise of their beloved father.

Even though Stephen Hawking was an atheist, his funeral was nevertheless religious. An Anglican funeral service was conducted for him at Cambridge in April 2018. His ashes were then cremated and interred and a thanksgiving service was held for him at Westminster Abbey in August 2018.

Hawking receiving the Congressional Medal of Freedom in 2009 Image Source

His Cause of Death is Believed to be Complications From the Motor Neuron Disease He Had Lived With for 55 Years

Stephen Hawking’s family has never officially released the cause of his death. The only information they released at the time of his death was that he had died peacefully. Despite the non-disclosure, it is believed that Stephen Hawking died as a result of complications from ALS, the disease he had lived with for 55 years and which left him paralyzed and unable to speak.

ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Stephen Hawking was first diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 in 1963. Prior to that time, he had experienced some clumsiness in movement and slurred speech. The doctors finally diagnosed him and gave him two years to live. Hawking believed this to be very unfair and thought his life was over but it wasn’t.

He was able to live for 55 years after the diagnosis. He, however, had to use wheelchairs and a voice synthesizer computer system to communicate. Hawking’s longevity was attributed to great medical care and exclusive nursing. There was also the fact that the form of his ALS was slow-progressing.

However, no matter how slow-progressing, ALS can come with complications such as respiratory failure towards the end. It is therefore believed that complications related to ALS was the cause of Stephen Hawking’s death.


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