Eddie Redmayne has paid tribute to Professor Stephen Hawking after news the scientist died.
He said: “We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
“My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family.”
Mr Redmayne portrayed the scientist in the film and won the Oscar for Best Actor for his touching performance.
He met the brilliant professor while researching the role, and at the time described it as “one of the great moments of [his] life.”
The actor explained:”When Stephen saw the film, I was rehearsing so I couldn’t see him beforehand but I saw him just after he went in and I said ‘hey Stephen I’m very nervous, but please do let me know what you think’.”
“He took a while to respond and said in his iconic voice ‘I will let you know what I think, good or otherwise’.”
Mr Redmayne said the scientist was “so nice” after viewing the film.
Stephen Hawking died in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the age of 76.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, his family said.
Prof Hawking, one of the world’s finest scientific minds, was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22 and was given just a few years to live.
He eventually became confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication.
Despite this, he continued to travel the world giving lectures and writing scientific papers about the basic laws that govern the universe.
Prof Hawking explained the Big Bang and black holes in his best-selling book A Brief History Of Time.
In a statement, his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
“His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.
“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love’. We will miss him forever.” [Source]