Famed British theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking has been rushed to a Cambridge hospital and is reported seriously ill.

Cambridge University said Hawking, who is wheelchair-bound and almost entirely paralyzed, was under treatment Monday for a serious chest infection.  He has previously been treated for pneumonia.  University officials say he has been ill for several weeks and was undergoing a battery of tests at a local hospital.

Hawking, 67, is revered for his work on celestial black holes, cosmology and quantum gravity.  He reached celebrity status with the 1988 publication of A Brief History of Time, a spellbinding account of the origins of the universe.

The scientist was diagnosed at age 21 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and has for years communicated through a voice synthesizer activated by his fingers.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.