UK & World News
Sir Patrick Moore, 89, Dies At Home
Astronomer and broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore has died at his home at the age of 89.
The broadcaster "passed away peacefully" on Sunday afternoon, in Selsey, West Sussex, his friends and staff said in a statement.
It added: "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."
Sir Patrick, who celebrated the 55th anniversary of his programme, The Sky At Night, in April, had battled ill health in recent years.
The stargazer had been using a wheelchair and had become unable to look through a telescope.
He died after battling an infection.
The statement went on: "Over the past few years, Patrick, an inspiration to generations of astronomers, fought his way back from many serious spells of illness and continued to work and write at a great rate, but this time his body was too weak to overcome the infection which set in, a few weeks ago.
"He was able to perform on his world record-holding TV Programme The Sky at Night right up until the most recent episode.
"His executors and close friends plan to fulfil his wishes for a quiet ceremony of interment, but a farewell event is planned for what would have been Patrick's 90th birthday in March 2013."
Queen guitarist Brian May, himself an avid astronomer with a doctorate in astrophysics, 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."
Speaking at a party to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the BBC programme, Sir Patrick said he hoped the stargazing series would continue "indefinitely".
The last programme was broadcast on Monday.
Sir Patrick has only missed one episode since it began in 1957 when he was struck down by food poisoning.
His trademark monocle, unique delivery and occasional performances on the xylophone made him a familiar target for satirists and impressionists, but his scientific credentials were never in doubt.