Tributes as Hans Rosling is laid to rest in Uppsala

Tributes as Hans Rosling is laid to rest in Uppsala
Hans Rosling. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Hundreds of people gathered in Uppsala to say their last goodbyes to Swedish statistics legend Hans Rosling, who passed away from cancer last month at the age of 68.

Friends, family and former colleagues were among the around 300 guests attending the civil funeral ceremony held at Uppsala Castle on Friday morning, to pay tribute to the international health professor.

“Hans' time among us has ended, but his work cannot be stopped,” regional newspaper UNT quoted funeral officiant Noomi Arvas Liljefors as saying.

“He will be buried near Dag Hammarskjöld, another great Swede who wanted to make a difference,” she added, referring to the former UN Secretary-General who was also buried in Uppsala.

A video message by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, both close friends of Rosling, was shown at the ceremony, which was attended by several high-profile academics and businesspeople.

“He inspired and stood up for facts in a time when alternative facts are being spread and science questioned,” deputy prime minister and international development minister Isabella Lövin told SVT.

Rosling will be laid to rest at the Gamla kyrkogården cemetery in Uppsala, followed by a private memorial service at the castle on Friday.

READ ALSO: 'The loss of Rosling is keenly felt at a time when fake news is rife'

A medical doctor and former professor at the Karolinska Institute, Rosling was best known on the international stage for his commitment to numbers and facts and ability to make them both entertaining and educational.

Co-founding the fact-based Gapminder Foundation with his son Ola Rosling and daughter-in-law, this made him a global celebrity and sought-after public speaker, with his lectures chalking up millions of views on Youtube.

In 2015 he even spoke in front of a packed Stockholm arena at a charity concert otherwise reserved for musicians, where he gave a surprise lecture on the funding he believed to be essential in order to tackle the global refugee crisis. He received a standing ovation.

“Across the world, millions of people use our tools and share our vision of a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand. We know that many will be saddened by this message. Hans is no longer alive, but he will always be with us and his dream of a fact-based worldview, we will never let die!” his family wrote in a statement last month.