Hawking On Suicide: "While There Is Life, There Is Hope"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 11, 2006
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL--Professor Stephen Hawking made light of his disability and celebrity status Monday, but said he would never consider suicide, during an interview for an Israeli talk show.
According to the International Herald Tribune, the astrophysicist who was diagnosed more than 40 years ago with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a form of progressive motor neuron disease commonly known as 'Lou Gehrig's Disease', said that the only good thing about his disability was that "I do not get put on a lot of boring committees."
The Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, considered by many to be the greatest scientist of his time, is paralyzed except for the use of some facial muscles. He now speaks through a computerized voice synthesizer, which he controls through sensors by moving his cheek.
"The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognized," Hawking said.
"It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away. People want to be photographed with me, but it can be a nuisance when I am in a hurry."
When asked if he had ever considered taking his own life because of his condition, Hawking replied: "I think a person should have a right to end their life if they want, but I think it would be a great mistake."
"However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. While there is life, there is hope."
Stephen Hawking's Website
"Hawking's Visit Had Powerful Impact On Accessibility" February 20, 2001 (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)