Former Senator John Glenn (D-OH), the first American citizen to orbit planet earth has died. The beloved astronaut and American hero was 95 years old.
Glenn’s death was confirmed by the Columbus Dispatch who released a statement from Ohio Governor John Kasich.
“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve,” Gov. Kasich said.
“As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation.
News of Glenn’s declining health began to circulate in early December after news broke that the former senator had been hospitalized in Columbus, Ohio.
Steve Koff of Cleveland.com first reported that Glenn’s health was declining in an article on Wednesday.
“Glenn had heart-valve replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in 2014 and suffered a stroke, but the exact illness leading to his hospitalization has not been disclosed,” Koff reported on Wednesday.
“His health, including his eyesight, has declined in recent years.”
In Washington, Glenn’s time as a United States Senator was remembered fondly by his colleagues.
“He was a great American,” Glenn’s former Senate Legislative Counsel Max Brown told Rare.
“[Senator Glenn was] courageous and helped set America on a path of innovation, and exemplified all that is good with the country. He will be sorely missed.”
Prior to his years as a senator from Ohio, Glenn was a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the earth.
At 77 years old, Glenn became the oldest person to ever enter outer-space in 1998.
As a United States Senator, Glenn served from 1974-1999.
In a 2012 interview commemorating the 50th anniversary of his flight to space, Glenn recalled that important day in American history.
“That whole day is very vividly impressed on my memory because it was such a new experience. We hadn’t done that before. And then I’ve recalled it so often since then, I think, that it’s a – it’s remained very vivid over the past 50 years. Seems to me like about a week or two instead of 50 years,” Glenn told NPR.
“But looking back is OK, but I rather look forward. I think that’s the – if somebody is looking – the ideas of looking back can help encourage the kids of today, well, that’s what’s important.”
Glenn is survived by his wife of 70+ years, two children and two grandchildren.