Stephen Hawking lived with motor neurone disease from the age of 21 until his death, aged 76, in 2018. He credited the National Health Service with saving his life many times [File photo: 2016/Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

The family of acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking has donated his ventilator to a National Health Service hospital that had treated him in Cambridge, the English university city where he lived and worked, to help care for coronavirus patients.

The scientist died in March 2018 at age 76 after a lifetime spent probing the origins of the universe. He was diagnosed with a rare early-onset form of motor neurone disease at the age of 21. He was a lifelong advocate of the NHS, lambasting ministers who sought to cut

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