Stephen Hawking's ashes to be buried near to Sir Isaac Newton's grave at Westminster Abbey

Sophie Williams
Professor Stephen Hawking's funeral is to take place in Cambridge: Getty Images

Professor Stephen Hawking's ashes are to be buried at Westminster Abbey near to the grave of Sir Isaac Newton.

His ashes will be interred during a thanksgiving service later this year, a spokesman for the abbey said.

Earlier today the details of Professor Stephen Hawking's funeral were revealed. It is due to take place on March 31 in Cambridge.

His family said they wanted to hold his funeral in a “city he loved so much.”

Professor Hawking died on March 14 aged 76.

The funeral will be a private affair and will take place at Great St Mary’s, the University Church.

While a private reception will be held afterwards at Trinity College.

In a statement, Professor Hawking’s children said: “On behalf of our whole family we want to express our huge gratitude for all the wonderful tributes to our father and to those who have sent us messages of condolence.

“Our father lived and worked in Cambridge for over 50 years. He was an integral and highly recognisable part of the university and the city. For this reason, we have decided to hold his funeral on this city he loved so much and which loved him.”

On the morning of his death, a book of condolence was opened up in the city.

The renowned physicist was born in Oxfordshire in 1942 and went on to study at both the University of Oxford and Cambridge.

But after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22, he was given just a few years to live.

Yet against all odds Professor Hawking celebrated his 70th birthday nearly half a century later as one of the most famous scientists of the modern age.

Prof Hawking's crowning achievement was his prediction in the 1970s that black holes can emit energy, despite the classical view that nothing - not even light - can escape their gravity.

With Roger Penrose, he showed that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.