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[en] The pair decay width of the first excited 0+ state in 12C (the Hoyle state) is deduced from a novel analysis of the world data on inelastic electron scattering covering a wide momentum transfer range, thereby resolving previous discrepancies. The extracted value Γπ=(62.3±2.0) μeV is independently confirmed by new data at low momentum transfers measured at the S-DALINAC and reduces the uncertainty of the literature values by more than a factor of 3. A precise knowledge of Γπ is mandatory for quantitative studies of some key issues in the modeling of supernovae and of asymptotic giant branch stars, the most likely site of the slow-neutron nucleosynthesis process.