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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 11:06 GMT
Private funeral for author Clarke
Sir Arthur C Clarke
The author died of respiratory complications and heart failure
British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke is to be buried at a private funeral in Sri Lanka.

Sir Arthur, the author of science fiction classics such as 2001, died in his adopted home on Wednesday, aged 90.

His body has been laid out in a casket at his home near the capital Colombo for mourners to pay respects.

Sir Arthur will be buried at Colombo's General Cemetery on Saturday at 1530 (1000 GMT) in a strictly secular ceremony, his spokesman said.

Last wishes

Nalaka Gawardene said Sir Arthur's last three wishes were for conclusive proof of extraterrestrial life, clean energy to halt global warming and peace in Sri Lanka during his lifetime.

"Now unfortunately he didn't live long enough to see any of these last wishes come true," she said.

"And I think the challenge for all his fans and all his admirers is to make these three wishes come true as early and as comprehensively as possible."

Since 1995, the author had been largely confined to a wheelchair by post-polio syndrome.

Sir Arthur C Clarke in casket
Friends gathered to pay their last respects
He died of respiratory complications and heart failure, according to his aide, Rohan De Silva.

Sir Arthur was quoted as saying religion was "a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species", and he left written instructions that his funeral be completely secular.

The Somerset-born author achieved his greatest fame in 1968 when his short story The Sentinel was turned into the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

His visions of space travel and computing sparked the imagination of readers and scientists alike.

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