Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday, weeks after heart surgery and days after his 82nd birthday.
His family reported the death at 2:45 p.m. ET. A statement said he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and he radioed back to Earth the historic news: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
He spent nearly three hours walking on the moon with fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.
Armstrong and his wife, Carol, married in 1999, made their home in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill, but he had largely stayed out of public view in recent years. His birthday was Aug. 5.
He spoke at Ohio State University during a February event honoring fellow astronaut John Glenn and the 50th anniversary of Glenn becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. In May, Armstrong joined Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida to support the opening of The National Flight Academy, which aims to teach math and science to kids through an aviation-oriented camp.
The Apollo 11 moon mission turned out to be Armstrong's last space flight. The following year he was appointed to a desk job, being named NASA's deputy associate administrator for aeronautics in the office of advanced research and technology.
He left NASA a year later to become a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972.
More about Armstrong:
- Armstrong grew up in Ohio with a strong interest in flight and earned his pilot's license while still a boy.
- After flying combat missions during the Korean War, he became a test pilot and joined NASA's astronaut program in 1962.
- Armstrong's pulse was measured at 150 beats per minute as he guided the lunar lander to the moon's surface, NASA said.
- Asked about his experience on the moon, he told CBS: "It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it."
- A crater on the moon is named for Armstrong. It is located about 30 miles from the site of the landing.
- In 2005 Armstrong was upset to learn that his barber had sold clippings of his hair to a collector for $3,000. The man who bought the hair refused to return it, saying he was adding it to his collection of locks from Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein and others.
- Despite his taciturn nature, Armstrong once appeared in a television commercial for the U.S. automaker Chrysler. He said he made the ad because of Chrysler's engineering history and his desire to help the company out of financial troubles.
Apollo 11 moonwalker Neil Armstrong, shown here during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in November 2011.
Ralph Morse / Getty Images file