Image: Respects to Arthur C. Clarke
Buddhika Weerasinghe  /  Reuters
People pay their last respects at the coffin of science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke at his residence during Saturday's funeral procession in Colombo.
updated 3/23/2008 12:33:28 AM ET 2008-03-23T04:33:28

Science-fiction visionary Arthur C. Clarke was buried Saturday to the music of his most famous work, the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," as tearful mourners spoke of his wish to be remembered as someone who "never grew up."

Clarke, who moved to Sri Lanka in 1956, died at a Colombo hospital Wednesday at age 90 after years of suffering debilitating post-polio syndrome.

In the days since Clarke's death, students, space enthusiasts, politicians and Buddhist monks traveled to his Colombo home to pay their last respects and to salute a man who inspired many of them.

His brief funeral Saturday was held according to his written instructions: "Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral."

The Ekanayake family, with whom the British author lived in the final decades of his life, cried as his coffin was lowered into the grave at the general cemetery in Colombo. His brother, Fred Clarke, and other family members were among the mourners. Some fans and followers also sprinkled soil into the grave.

Music from the 1968 movie "2001," which Clarke wrote with director Stanley Kubrick, was played at the funeral and at Clarke's home before the ceremony.

Tamara Ekanayake, the daughter of Clarke's business partner and longtime friend Hector Ekanayake, made a brief speech at their home before the funeral procession began. She said Clarke's gravestone would be engraved according to his wishes: "Here lies Arthur C. Clarke. He never grew up and did not stop growing."

Born in western England on Dec. 16, 1917, Clarke earlier served in the Royal Air Force during World War II before moving to Sri Lanka.

He won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future. Clarke also was credited with coming up with the concept of communications satellites decades before they became a reality.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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