US astronaut Neil Armstrong dies, first man on Moon

Armstrong died following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, the family said in a statement, just two days after his birthday on August 5.

His family said in a statement that the cause was “complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.” He had undergone heart bypass surgery earlier this month in Cincinnati, near where he lived. His recovery had been going well, according to those who spoke with him after the surgery, and his death came as a surprise to many close to him, including his fellow Apollo astronauts. The family did not say where he died.

“Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,” Armstrong informed mission controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, with the restrained aplomb that marked his life. Two and a half hours later with the words, “That’s one small step for (a) man. One giant leap for mankind,” he stepped upon the moon for the first time.

US President Barack Obama said Armstrong was “among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time”.

Last November he received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest US civilian award.

He was the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. More than 500 million TV viewers around the world watched its touchdown on the lunar surface.

Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs.

“The sights were simply magnificent, beyond any visual experience that I had ever been exposed to,” Armstrong once said.

(Sources: USA Today and BBC)

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