|Famed astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn passed away.|
Sad news to report. The legendary astronaut and former Democratic senator from Ohio, John Glenn passed away. Around that time, he was hospitalized at the Ohio State University James Cancer Center. A specific cause of death wasn't revealed but at the time of his death, the family confirmed he was in dire straits.
Buzz Aldrin is suffering from declining health issues as well. He was in Antarctica when he was getting ill and had to return back to the United States. He was told of the news while in the hospital.
President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump were notified of the passing.
Obama said that "with John's passing, our nation has lost an icon."
"When John Glenn blasted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas rocket in 1962, he lifted the hopes of a nation," Obama said in a statement. "And when his Friendship 7 spacecraft splashed down a few hours later, the first American to orbit the Earth reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together."
Trump said in a tweet that the nation had lost "a great pioneer of air and space in John Glenn. He was a hero and inspired generations of future explorers."
Ohio governor John Kasich, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) were notified as well.
Glenn was the last survivor of the Mercury 7. He was selected in 1959 as NASA's first groups of astronauts. He became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20th, 1962.
He was born on July 18, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio to Clara and John H. Glenn, Sr. The family moved to New Concord when he was young. His father was involved in the business of plumbing. He didn't want to get into the business, he wanted to be an engineer.
He went to Muskingum College to study there. He dropped out to join the Navy. He was influenced to join after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In World War II, John flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific as Marine aviator. He flew a further 90 combat missions during the Korean War. He survived skirts with enemy fire and lived to tell about it.
Around that time, he met his love Annie and she always had his back. They would have two children and live in Columbus, Ohio.
Glenn was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974. Served from 1975 until 1999. He lost his first bid for the Senate from Ohio in 1970, after abandoning a race in 1964 because of a head injury suffered in a fall.
Glenn was briefly considered as a running mate for Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in 1980. But a ponderous address at the Democratic National Convention – people walked out – caused Carter to remark that Glenn was "the most boring man I ever met."
Glenn sought the Democratic presidential nomination himself in 1984 but was quickly eliminated by eventual nominee Walter Mondale, Carter's vice president. His failure was all the more stinging because he had been touted as an early front-runner.
In the Senate, Glenn was respected as a thoughtful moderate with expertise in defense and foreign policy. But his career's luster was dulled by a Senate investigation of the "Keating Five" – five senators suspected of doing favors for campaign contributor Charles Keating Jr. The panel eventually found Glenn did nothing improper or illegal.
He took a leading role in seeking to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, especially to Pakistan. He was the author of a law that forced the United States to impose sanctions on India and Pakistan in 1998 after both countries conducted nuclear tests.
He also was a staunch advocate of a strong military and took a keen interest in strategic issues. He retired from the Senate in 1999.
Thirty-six years after his maiden space voyage, Glenn became America's first geriatric astronaut on Oct. 29, 1998. He was 77 years old when he blasted off as a mission specialist aboard the shuttle Discovery. He saw it as a blow to stereotyping of the elderly.
"Maybe prior to this flight, we were looked at as old geezers who ought to get out of the way," Glenn said after his nine-day shuttle mission. "Just because you’re up in years some doesn't mean you don't have hopes and dreams and aspirations just as much as younger people do."
Recently the city of Columbus renamed its airport John Glenn Metro Columbus International Airport.
The former was Port Columbus.
The skies are the limit for a legend. He will be sorely missed. Godspeed John Glenn.