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Neil Armstrong, first man to step onto the moon, dead at age 82

Neil Armstrong, first man to step onto the moon, dead at age 82

Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the moon in 1969 died today due to complications during heart surgery he received earlier this month.  He was 38 years old when he made the moon landing and 82 years old when he died today.

On July 29, 1969, Armstrong stepped onto the moon and said, “It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Thus began a giant leap into exploring the heavens and one of its many celestial bodies, which many a mythical story surrounded.

"We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures," Armstrong's family said in a statement.

Armstrong underwent heart surgery this month.

"While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves," his family said.

His family also stated that if people want to do something to honour him, they have a simple request. They said, "For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. 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."

President Obama gave a short statement in memory of Armstrong.

"Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time," said President Barack Obama. "When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable — that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible."

"Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time," said President Barack Obama. "When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable — that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible."

Armstrong’s first trip up to the moon in 1966, on the Gemini 8, nearly ended in disaster, but he calmly returned the ship and his crew safely back to earth.  His second trip on Apollo 11, in 1969 ended in success.  The whole world watched in suspense and celebrated the moment Armstrong said, “Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.”

Next, he became the first man to set foot on the moon, stating his famous words, which many remember and quote today, except one thing was missing from his statement until technology picked up that soft sound.

About six and a half hours later at 10:56 p.m. ET on July 20, 1969, Armstrong, at age 38, became the first person to set foot on the moon.

He uttered the now-famous phrase: "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."

The quote was originally recorded without the "a," which was picked up by voice recognition software many years later.

Armstrong spent 32 minutes on the moon, while Buzz Aldrin spent only 15 minutes.  CNN does not report Michael Collins ever stepping onto the moon’s surface, yet the three men did set up experiments before leaving the moon.  The two men planted an American flag and scooped moon rocks and dust to bring home.

The two astronauts set up an American flag, scooped up moon rocks and set up scientific experiments before returning to the main spacecraft.

All three returned home to a hero's welcome, and none ever returned to space. Armstrong received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, the highest award offered to a U.S. civilian.

According to the BBC, Buzz Aldrin is saddened that the team who landed on the moon in 1966 will not be together during the 50th anniversary celebration.

Mr Aldrin told the BBC's Newshour programme: "It's very sad indeed that we're not able to be together as a crew on the 50th anniversary of the mission… [I will remember him] as a very capable commander."

Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 5, 1930 and dreamed of flying when he was a boy.  At the age of 16, he received his first pilot’s license.  He went on to study aeronautical engineering and earned degrees from Purdue University and University of Southern California.  He also joined the Navy and flew 78 missions in the Korean War.  After the veteran returned, he went on to make history, by flying to the moon.  Later, he went on to teach engineering.

After his historic mission to the moon, Armstrong worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), coordinating and managing the administration's research and technology work.

In 1971, he resigned from NASA and taught engineering at the University of Cincinnati for nearly a decade.

After that historic event that made him famous, he went on to live a quiet life with his wife and children, preferring to stay out of the limelight, even though he worked for NASA.  BBC shows his life in pictures.

Full documentary on the moon landing:

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1391482683 Richard Briggs

    A true hero, and an exceptionally good pilot. Godspeed sir!

  • http://twitter.com/AirbrushingArt Airbrush

    I grew up hearing stories about Neil Armstrong and he was an inspiration to me. May he Rest in Peace.

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  • Deborah_B

    Our Internet has been down and this is the first news I've seen today. This inspirational man will live on in our history books forever.

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