Professor Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, makes remarks at an event marking the 50th anniversary of NASA, Monday, April 21, 2008,at George Washington University in Washington. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Famed mathematician Stephen Hawking has been rushed to a hospital and is seriously ill, Cambridge University said Monday.
The university said Hawking has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks, and was being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the university city north of London.
"Professor Hawking is very ill," said Gregory Hayman, the university's head of communications. "He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."
Hawking, 67, gained renown for his work on black holes, and has remained active despite being diagnosed at 21 with ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), an incurable degenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
For some years, Hawking has been almost entirely paralyzed, and he communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer activated by his fingers.
"Professor Hawking is a remarkable colleague. We all hope he will be amongst us again soon," said Professor Peter Haynes, head of the university's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.
Hawking had canceled an appearance at Arizona State University on April 6 because of his illness.
He announced last year that he would step down from his post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title once held by the great 18th century physicist Isaac Newton, and the end of this academic year. However, the university said Hawking intended to continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.