China on Wednesday expressed condolences over the passing of renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking, praising him as an outstanding scientist.
Stephen Hawking reportedly died peacefully at home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday at the age of 76.
China expressed deep condolences at the passing of Hawking and extended sincere sympathies to his family, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.
"Hawking made a great contribution to science and humanity," Lu said, noting that he also struggled with a disease.
Lu said Hawking had been to China three times and Chinese leaders had met with him. Chinese scientists and science fans had pleasant communication with him, he added.
"Hawking was concerned with China's development and spoke highly of the scientific and technological progress that China had made," the spokesperson said.
Lu said Hawking was very fond of Chinese culture, and had realized his wish to reach the Great Wall, with the help of his assistants.