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A shop assistant poses with A Brief History of Time, the bestselling book of world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, at a bookshop in London, Britain, on March 14, 2018. (Xinhua/Stephen Chung)
A Chinese publisher Thursday said it has received orders for over 1 million copies of Stephen Hawking's works following the death of the legendary British physicist.
Hawking's death has put the spotlight on his books, leading to surging orders for new copies, said Sun Guijun, an editor at Hunan Science and Technology Press, the sole publisher of simplified Chinese versions of Hawking's works in China.
Many of Hawking's books are sold out on major Chinese online book retailers JD.com and Dangdang.com, and customers can only make pre-orders.
The publishing house introduced Hawking's best-seller "A Brief History of Time" to China in 1992 and went on to publish nearly 10 more books in the following 26 years.
"'A Brief History of Time' has been printed over 30 times and is very popular among Chinese readers," said Sun, who has been in charge of editing Hawking's books since 1999.
"When I first saw him at the University of Cambridge in 2006, I was deeply shocked to see such a great scientist bound to a wheelchair forever," recalled the editor.
"I could hardly believe that he had left us. I sobbed and my mind went blank several times," Sun said.
"Hawking was great. He solely depended on his mind to express while being unable to speak and write. His personal charisma has long inspired me," she said.
Hawking's books have been popular in China and many readers fell in love with science after reading his books.
The publisher also plans to publish more of Hawking's works in the future to help more readers in China gain an insight into his thoughts and personal charisma.
Hawking died at the age of 76, a family spokesperson announced Wednesday. His death has prompted mourning across the world, including among fans in China.
Hawking, a legendary figure in the modern history of physics, is known for his work on black holes and relativity, and he authored several best-sellers on science, despite being bound to a wheelchair. He was diagnosed with a motor neurone disease in 1963 at the age of 21.
He broke new ground on the basic laws that govern the universe, including the revelation that black holes have a temperature and produce radiation, now known as Hawking radiation.
At the same time, he also sought to explain many of these complex scientific ideas to a wider audience through popular books, most notably his bestseller "A Brief History of Time," according to an obituary posted on the University of Cambridge's website.