Hawking, the subject of Academy Award-winning biopic “The Theory of Everything,” died in 2018 from motor neurone disease, aged 76.
The ventilator has been donated to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, where Hawking lived, as it cares for increasing numbers of patients with coronavirus.
Hawking’s daughter Lucy said: “After our father passed away, we returned all the medical equipment he used that belonged to the NHS (National Health Service), but there were some items that he bought for himself. We are now passing them to the NHS in the hope they will help in the fight against COVID-19.”
Royal Papworth Hospital has expanded its critical care department to more than double its usual size amid increasing numbers of patients being hospitalized with COVID-19, which can cause severe respiratory problems. It has received additional supplies of ventilators from the NHS but — after a check by the hospital’s clinical engineering team — has added the ventilator donated by the Hawking family to its fleet.
The U.K. has so far recorded 17,337 deaths from COVID-19, while it is struggling with close to 133,500 positive cases. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also fell ill with the disease last month and was in hospital for one week, including three nights in intensive care. He is currently recovering at his country residence.
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Eddie Redmayne won an Academy Award in 2015 for his portrayal of Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” directed by James Marsh.