A CEREMONY to grant Professor Peter Higgs the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh has been postponed after the Nobel Prize winner took ill.

The 84-year-old emeritus professor of theoretical physics at Edinburgh University was set to join Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Sean Connery as a Freemen at a ceremony at Edinburgh University's McEwan Hall.

The event, which will see Prof Higgs become the only holder of the title living in the capital, was postponed due to his ill-health.

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He is said to be suffering from a chest complaint.

Edinburgh's Lord Provost Donald Wilson was due to present the award ahead of a physics lecture.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh University said: "It has been postponed because Professor Higgs is unwell. We had issued tickets and people have been emailed to let them know. We are hoping to reschedule."

A spokesman for co-sponsors the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of which Prof Higgs is a fellow, said: "We are sorry the event has had to be cancelled, and we wish him a speedy recovery."

Prof Higgs, who developed the theory which led to the discovery of the so-called God particle, has spoken of his delight at the honour.

It is the highest honour the city can give, granted to individuals who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts, or to recognise the respect and high esteem in which they are held by the people of the City of Edinburgh.