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Originally given just two years to live, Hawking lived for 55 years following his diagnosis, using a wheelchair for the vast majority of his life, before his death on March 14 at 76.

A range of personal belongings of British physicist, Stephen Hawking, including his famous motorised red leather wheel chair and a copy of his dissertation thesis have been sold for $1 million in an auction.

A bidder also spent more than US$760,000 - more than double the expectation - on Prof Hawking's signed 1965 PhD thesis, Properties of Expanding Universes, about the origins of time and space. A motorised wheelchair that belonged to the physicist, who died in March and which was expected to fetch £15,000, went for nearly £300,000.

"Stephen Hawking was a huge personality worldwide".

In 1963, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type of motor neuron disease that causes nerve cells controlling muscles to waste away.

One of the theoretical physicist's wheelchairs was sold at auction smashing its estimate.

The red wheelchair was used by Prof Hawking during the late 1980s and early 90s; he stopped using it when he could no longer steer it with his hands.

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During the auction was able to implement a single instance of the thesis that the scientist has created fifty-three years ago.

All the proceeds from the sale of the chair will benefit the Motor Neurone Disease Association and The Stephen Hawking Foundation.

A collection of Hawking's medals and awards fetched almost £300,000 ($392,000) more-again well above the expected price.

The second most expensive item in the collection is the beloved physicist's former wheelchair, which raised $390,000.

Perhaps more surprising, among some of Hawking's possessions was a script from an episode of "The Simpsons", which raised $8,160 (£6,250).

Other personal belongings included a bomber jacket, which fetched $52,200 (£40,000) and a collection of his medals, which went for $387,360 (£296,750).