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OTRC: Neil Armstrong, first person to walk on the moon, dead at 82

Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who became first to walk on the moon, died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. He was 82 years old. (NASA)

Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who became the first person to walk on the moon in 1969, died on Saturday, August 25, at the age of 82.

Armstrong died following complications from cardiovascular procedures, according to a statement from his family.

"Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend," the statement said.

He commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. His first words after setting foot on the surface: "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."

Buzz Aldrin, who was on the Apollo 11 mission with Armstrong and walked the surface of the moon with him, released a statement shortly after news of his death broke.

"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 mission of Apollo 11," Aldrin said. "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."

"Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew," Aldrin's statement continued. "My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a landmark moment in human history."

"I had truly hoped that in 2019, we would be standing together along with our colleague Mike Collins to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing," he added. "Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit."

Armstrong and Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the lunar surface, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs.

The media shy Armstrong maintained in a 2000 public appearance the he never wanted to get caught up in the celebrity and glamour of the space program at the time.

"I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer," he said in February 2000. "And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession."

Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930 near Wapakoneta in western Ohio. He later enrolled in Purdue University to study aeronautical engineering but was called to duty with the U.S. Navy in 1949 and flew 78 combat missions in Korea.

Armstrong later finished his degree from Purdue after the war and earned a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He became a test pilot with what evolved into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Armstrong married Carol Knight in 1999, and the couple lived in Indian Hill, a Cincinnati suburb. He had two adult sons from a previous marriage.

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