Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died, his family said Saturday. He was 82.
“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 obtained by CNN affiliate WKRC.
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.
Armstrong did not maintain as high a profile as many of the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo astronauts, preferring to spend his time teaching and raising his family. But I remember, on the 25th anniversary, his expressing disappointment with our lack of follow-through on Apollo.
Armstrong was much more than “spam in a can”. His quick thinking saved Gemini 8, he ejected from the “flying bedstead” practice lander moments before it crashed and his skilled piloting kept the Apollo 11 lander from smashing into a huge unforeseen rock that was in the flight path — a real-life lunar lander video game. We are extremely fortunate to have been blessed with such men. And I hope we will one day again have a space program worthy of their legacy.
Update: More from Phil Plait. He wonders if we should have a holiday for Armstrong. I wouldn’t go that far (and he would have opposed it). I think we have enough holidays already. But I do think July 20 should recognized, maybe as Astronaut Day or something. Landing on the moon is the greatest achievement in human history.