Astronaut Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on moon, dead at 82

Astronaut Neil Armstrong

(CNN) — Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died, his family said Saturday. He was 82.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following

A portrait of Neil Armstrong while a test pilot at the NACA High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (SOURCE: NASA)

complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures,” his family said in a statement obtained by CNN affiliate WKRC.

Armstrong underwent heart surgery this month.

He and fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off in Apollo 11 on a nearly 250,000-mile journey to the moon that went down in the history books.

It took them four days to reach their destination.

The world watched and waited as the lunar module “Eagle” separated from the command module and began its descent.

Then came the words from Armstrong: “Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.”

About six and a half hours later at 10:56 p.m. ET on July 20, 1969, Armstrong, at age 38, became the first person to set foot on the moon.

He uttered the now-famous phrase: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for

Neil Armstrong Portrait (SOURCE: NASA)

mankind.”

After his historic mission, Armstrong worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), coordinating and managing the administration’s research and technology work.

In 1971, Armstrong resigned from NASA and taught engineering at the University of Cincinnati for nearly a decade.

While many people are quick to cash in on their 15 minutes of fame, Armstrong largely avoided the public spotlight and chose to lead a quiet, private life with his wife and children.

But he always recognized — in a humble manner — the importance of what he had accomplished.

“Looking back, we were really very privileged to live in that thin slice of history where we changed how man looks at himself and what he might become and where he might go,” Armstrong said.

CNN’s Tricia Escobedo contributed to this report.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,691 other followers