Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82, after suffering complications from heart surgery, his family said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the former NASA astronaut had undergone heart surgery. Mr Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969, capping the most daring of the 20th century’s scientific expeditions.
He famously uttered the quote moments after setting foot on the lunar surface: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’
A statement from the family says he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. It doesn’t say where he died.
According to NBC News, the Armstrong family wrote in a statement: ‘Next time you walk outside on clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil and give him a wink.’
NASA, too, was quick to express their sympathies, tweeting: ‘NASA offers its condolences on today’s passing of Neil Armstrong, former test pilot, astronaut & the 1st man on the moon.’
President Obama in a statement hailed the late astronaut Neil Armstrong as one of America’s greatest heroes. In a statement issued by the White House, Mr Obama said Armstrong and the rest of the crew of Apollo 11 carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation when they set out for the moon in 1969.
The president says that when Armstrong set foot on the moon, he delivered what he called ‘a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.’
Neil Armstrong short biography :
Born in Wapakoneta, Ohio on August 5, 1930, Armstrong had an early fascination with aircraft and worked at a nearby airport when he was a teenager.
He took flying lessons at the age of 15 and received his pilot’s license on his 16th birthday.
A US Navy aviator, he flew 78 missions in the Korean War. Armstrong joined NASA’s predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in 1955.
As a research pilot at NASA’s Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, he flew on many pioneering high-speed aircraft, eventually flying over 200 different models, including helicopters, gliders, jets and rockets.
He reached astronaut status in 1962, and was assigned as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission, during which he performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.
After retiring from NASA in 1971, Armstrong taught aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati for nearly a decade and served on the boards of several companies, including Lear Jet, United Airlines and Marathon Oil.
Armstrong also served as deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA headquarters, coordinating and managing the space agency’s aeronautics research and technology work.
His family said they had a simple request to people in memory of Armstrong’s life.
“Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink,” it said.