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Stephen Hawking tells Dara O'Briain that he would consider assisted suicide in new BBC documentary

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Stephen Hawking at the event

Stephen Hawking at the event

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Stephen Hawking at the event

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has revealed that he would consider assisted suicide in an interview with Irish comedian Dara O'Briain.

The professor, who has motor neurone disease, told O'Briain that the option is always on his mind, if he was "in great pain" or felt he " had nothing more to contribute".

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Eddie Redmayne with Professor Stephen Hawking, who he plays in the Oscar-nominated The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne with Professor Stephen Hawking, who he plays in the Oscar-nominated The Theory of Everything

"To keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity," Hawking stated.

“I would consider assisted suicide only if I were in great pain or felt I had nothing more to contribute but was just a burden to those around me.”

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Dara O'Briain at The Irish Gala Screening of NOBLE  at the Savoy Cinema on O'Connell Street, Dublin. Pictures: Brian McEvoy

Dara O'Briain at The Irish Gala Screening of NOBLE at the Savoy Cinema on O'Connell Street, Dublin. Pictures: Brian McEvoy

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Dara O Briain

Dara O Briain

BBC/Andrew Hayes-Watkins

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Dara O'Briain attending the opening night of Once at the Phoenix Theatre.

Dara O'Briain attending the opening night of Once at the Phoenix Theatre.

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Although the 72-year-old added, ”I am damned if I’m going to die before I have unravelled more of the universe."

Hawking has previously expressed that he supports assisted suicide, and once admitted that he tried to end his own life.

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Stephen Hawking, Lucy Hawking (right) and Jane Wilde Hawking (left) and unidentified guests attend the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street in London.
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Stephen Hawking, Lucy Hawking (right) and Jane Wilde Hawking (left) and unidentified guests attend the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street in London. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy arrive at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 8, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy arrive at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 8, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

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“I briefly tried to commit suicide by not breathing. However, the reflex to breathe was too strong," he revealed.

The interview between the two men will be aired on BBC1 on June 15th.

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Stephen Hawking attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street in London.  
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Stephen Hawking attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street in London. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Bray native O’Briain (43) studied maths and theoretical physics at UCD, before pursuing a career as a broadcaster.

The documentary also includes interviews with Professor Hawking's two children, Lucy and Tim, as well as his colleagues, students and close friends.

Commissioning editor Craig Hunter said: "It's a delight to watch Dara and Stephen's friendship develop with honesty and insight - especially as Dara is fulfilling a childhood dream meeting his hero."

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