The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn’t stop his pioneering ways.
Glenn made history a second time in 1998, when he flew aboard the shuttle Discovery to become the oldest person to fly in space.
Glenn was 95 when he died; he had been hospitalized in an Ohio State University medical center in Columbus since last week.
Glenn had been battling health issues since a stroke a few years ago. His death Thursday was confirmed by Hank Wilson, communications director of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University.
President Obama said that Glenn’s trailblazing showed “with courage and a spirit of discovery there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together.” The president said, “John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts. … On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said, “Senator Glenn’s legacy is one of risk and accomplishment, of history created and duty to country carried out under great pressure with the whole world watching. The entire NASA Family will be forever grateful for his outstanding service, commitment and friendship.”
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