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Global Paralympic body mourns Stephen Hawking, praises his work, legacy

  PYEONGCHANG, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The global Paralympic body mourned the passing of renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking on Wednesday, praising his work and legacy that spanned a 76-year lifetime.

  "Professor Stephen Hawking was an extraordinary man and a pioneer for all people with an impairment around the world. He embodied the word ability more than anyone," Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said in a statement.

  Hawking died at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday (local time) at the age of 76.

  The legendary figure in the modern history of physics is known for his work with black holes and relativity. He was bound to a wheelchair after contracting a motor neuron disease in 1963 at the age of 21.

  "In the Paralympic Movement we always say that paraathletes see challenges as opportunities to do things differently. Although not a paraathlete, Hawking did just that, finding innovative solutions to overcome his disability and continue his ground-breaking work as a world-leading physicist," said the IPC head.

  Hawking delivered a message of hope and optimism at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The news comes as the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games entered Day 5 on Wednesday.

  "We are eternally grateful that he was involved in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and his words from the opening ceremony were truly magical," recalled Parsons.