Tributes to 'irreplaceable' Moore
Tributes have been paid to the "irreplaceable" astronomer Sir Patrick Moore who has died aged 89.
The eccentric broadcaster passed away peacefully at his home in Selsey, West Sussex, after being struck down by an infection. His friend, Queen guitarist Brian May, said the world had "lost a priceless treasure that can never be replaced".
Sir Patrick inspired successive generations of stargazers with his television series The Sky At Night and wrote more than 60 books on astronomy. He celebrated the 55th anniversary of the BBC programme in April, with it becoming the longest running television series with the same presenter.
Sir Patrick only missed one episode since it began in 1957, when he suffered a severe bout of food poisoning in 2004 which nearly killed him. The last programme was broadcast on Monday. Speaking at a party to celebrate the 55th anniversary of The Sky At Night, he said he hoped the stargazing series would continue "indefinitely".
Sir Patrick lived alone and never married after the woman he was due to wed was killed in an air raid during the Second World War. The stargazer, who had a pacemaker fitted in 2006, battled ill health in recent years and became wheelchair-bound and unable to look through a telescope.
His friends and staff announced his death in a statement. It said: "After a short spell in hospital last week, it was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home, Farthings, where he today passed on, in the company of close friends and carers and his cat Ptolemy."
May, who co-wrote two books with Sir Patrick, paid tribute to a "dear friend and a kind of father figure to me".
He said: "Patrick will be mourned by the many to whom he was a caring uncle, and by all who loved the delightful wit and clarity of his writings, or enjoyed his fearlessly eccentric persona in public life. Patrick is irreplaceable. There will never be another Patrick Moore. But we were lucky enough to get one."
Professor Brian Cox, who presents a number of science programmes for the BBC, wrote on Twitter: "Very sad news about Sir Patrick. Helped inspire my love of astronomy. I will miss him!"
Comedian Sue Perkins tweeted: "RIP Patrick Moore - you taught me to look up x." While impressionist Jon Culshaw wrote: "Terribly, terribly sad to hear of the passing of Sir Patrick Moore, our Godfather of astronomy, he captured its fascination for all of us x."
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