(Photo: Reuters/Edwin Aldrin-NASA)
Neil Armstrong, who was the first man to walk on the moon, has died. He was 82. Fans are beginning to send in tributes to a man that many are honoring as a great American.
"It saddens us to report that the first astronaut to walk on the Moon has passed away," NASA posted on its Facebook page Saturday.
"rip mr armstrong. Thank you for your contributions to american history," Bonnie Jones commented.
"A true American and American hero, I have looked up to him since I was a child in the late 60's and early 70's. It is a great loss for our Country....Soar in the clouds and heavens with all the strength you shared with so many...God Speed!" Michael E Gooch wrote.
Armstrong died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, according to a statement by his family.
Born in 1930, the Wapakoneta, Ohio, native earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue University and a master's in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.
He served as a naval aviator and flew 78 combat missions during the Korean War. Afterwards, he worked as a research pilot when he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA's predecessor. He then served as a project pilot and flew more than 200 aircraft models.
Armstrong became the first civilian to fly a U.S. spacecraft in 1966 on the Gemini 8 mission.
But what Armstrong became most famous for was his July 1969, space flight as commander of the Apollo 11 mission. Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20 at age 38.
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," he famously stated.
For about two hours, he and astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin explored the moon, gathered more than 50 pounds of moon rocks, set up three scientific experiments and planted the U.S. flag.
From there on after, Armstrong has been greeted by Americans as a hero.
"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," his family said.
"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."