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Test-tube baby pioneer Robert Edwards dies aged 87

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British scientist Robert Edwards, who was awarded a Nobel prize for his pioneering work in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF), died on Wednesday aged 87, his university announced.

Edwards spent his career making the dream of having a baby come true for millions of people worldwide, running into conflict with the Catholic Church and fellow scientists on his way.

He was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine in 2010, three decades after the birth of the world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978, and five decades after he first began experimenting.

“It is with deep sadness that the family announces that Professor Sir Robert Edwards, Nobel prizewinner, scientist and co-pioneer of IVF, passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 10, 2013 after a long illness,” the University of Cambridge said in a statement.

“He will be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues.”

Edwards was too frail to pick up his Nobel prize in Stockholm in 2010, leaving that to his wife Ruth, with whom he had five daughters. However, he remained a fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge until his death.

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