Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon and an icon of science and pioneering, has passed away, NBC confirms. On August 7, two days after Armstrong’s 82nd birthday, he underwent heart surgery to
relieve blocked coronary arteries. He passed away just over two weeks
later, on August 25, 2012, from complications stemming from the
Armstrong was born August 5, 1930 in Ohio. He earned his flight certificate from the local airport before he even had a driver’s license. Armstrong studied aerospace engineering at Purdue University and went on to earn a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from USC. He served in the Navy in the Korean War. He flew 78 missions and was highly decorated by the time he resigned in 1960. He joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962.
The Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon at 20:17:39 UTC on July 20, 1969. Six hours later, on July 21, 1969, Armstrong put his boot on the surface of the moon and said the famous words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” — a hotly contested statement, as the “a” was dropped, leaving the statement contradictory. He and Buzz Aldrin planted an American flag and a plaque on the surface of the moon.
After his flight, he retired from space travel and worked as a professor at the University of Cincinatti, as well as serving as spokesman for several companies and brands.
Armstrong was married to Janet Elizabeth Shearon for 38 years. They had three children, Eric, Karen, and Mark; Karen passed away after suffering from cancer as a young child. Armstrong and Shearon divorced in 1994; he married Carol Held Knight in 1999.
He had recently offered his services as commander in a mission to land on Mars.