The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, passed away on Saturday at 2:45 pm following complications from a recent cardiac surgery. He was 82.
On July 20, 1969, the commander of the Apollo 11 mission created history by becoming the first person to step on a distant planet. "That is one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong had said.
His family confirmed the death in a statement."We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend."
"Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut.
"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."
Armstrong is survived by his wife Carol Held Knight, two sons, a stepson, a stepdaughter and ten grandchildren.
"Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time. Thank you, Neil, for showing us the power of one small step," President Barack Obama said via Twitter.
Armstrong was born on Aug 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. In 1955 he earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue University and went on to get a master in aerospace engineering degree from the University of Southern California in 1970.
In 1950 two weeks after his 20th birthday he became a fully qualified naval aviator and was selected to be an astronaut in 1962.
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off with Armstrong, Aldrin and Mike Collins on board and four days later they landed on the moon. His touchdown on the moon was viewed by more than 500 million television viewers from around the world
"I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong today. Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the Apollo 11 mission. Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone," Apollo 11 lunar module pilot and fellow moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on Armstrong's passing said.
"He was the best, and I will miss him terribly," Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins said.
"Neil Armstrong was a very personal inspiration to all of us within the astronaut office," said Bob Behnken, Chief of NASA's Astronaut Office. "His historic step onto the Moon's surface was the foundation for many of our personal dreams to become astronauts. The only thing that outshone his accomplishments was his humility about those accomplishments. We will miss him as a friend, mentor, explorer and ambassador for the American spirit of ingenuity."