Astronaut Michael Collins dies at age 90

National

US Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins is seen at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to discuss the impact of his historic mission to the moon on April 15, 2019. – During the Apollo 11 Mission while he stayed in orbit around the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left in the Apollo Lunar Module to make the first crewed landing on the Moon’s surface. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Astronaut Michael Collins has died after his battle with cancer, a statement from his family said Wednesday.

The beloved father and grandfather was integral to Americans reaching the moon – he was a pilot of the Apollo 11 command module.

Apollo 11 astronauts Mike Collins (left), Neil Armstrong (centre), and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, in front of the Lunar Landing Module Simulator at the Kennedy Space Centre, USA, prior to their landing on the moon. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

A statement from acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said some called him ‘the loneliest man in history’ — “while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot.”

The full statement from the Collins family reads:

“We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer. He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way. We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did. We will honor his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life. Please join us in fondly and joyfully remembering his sharp wit, his quiet sense of purpose, and his wise perspective, gained both from looking back at Earth from the vantage of space and gazing across calm waters from the deck of his fishing boat.”

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