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Astronaut and American Hero John Glenn Has Died

Glenn, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was the first US astronaut to orbit Earth, the third American in space, a four-term senator for Ohio, and a one-time presidential candidate.

by Lauren Messman
Dec 8 2016, 9:00pm

Photo via NASA on the Commons Flickr account

John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit Earth, died Thursday at the age of 95, the Associated Press reports.

Glenn was the last surviving member of the very first class of NASA astronauts, a group known as the "Mercury Seven," and was the third American to go into space. Although the Soviets managed to get a man in orbit first in 1961, Glenn holds that honor for the US and made it around the planet three times in 1962. At the age of 77, Glenn decided to break another record and become the oldest person to ever go to space, heading back up on the Discovery space shuttle in 1998.

After his heroic career in space, Glenn—a former fighter pilot—tried his hand at politics and became a four-term Democratic senator for Ohio. In 1976, Glenn was considered for Jimmy Carter's VP, and he then made his own unsuccessful bid for president in 1984.

On Thursday morning, Glenn had been rushed to the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Around 3:30 PM, Governor John Kasich confirmed the news of his death publicly on Twitter, lauding him as "Ohio's ultimate hometown hero."

"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," Kasich's statement reads.

Glenn is survived by his wife, Annie, and his two children, John and Carolyn.