Updated 08/26/2012 12:50 PM
Neil Armstrong, First Man To Walk On Moon, Dies At 82
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Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82.
His family said he died of complications from heart surgery he had earlier this month.
Armstrong radioed the famous words "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" to millions of Americans watching the historic Apollo 11 moon landing on TV in July 1969.
The then 38-year-old Apollo 11 commander spent nearly three hours on the moon's surface with fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz'' Aldrin. They had traveled 250,000 miles over the course of four days to reach the moon's surface.
The city threw a ticker tape parade in honor of Armstrong and the other Apollo 11 astronauts.
Armstrong was honored by 17 different countries and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom as well as the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
The Ohio native began flying lessons before he even had a driver's license.
Armstrong's first space mission was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966. He performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.
A year after the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong retired. The man who described himself as a "nerdy engineer" was an American legend to the rest of the world.
"He's going to be remembered as a pioneer. Someone who took ultimate risks and somebody who served our country," said President Susan Marenhoff-Zausner of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.
"It's somebody that's really significant for history, for science, for humanity in general as a whole," said a New Yorker.
"Hopefully there'll be tributes and definitely some sort of monument somewhere to remember everything he did for the U.S. space program," said another New Yorker.
Armstrong was incredibly humble and private. He once told a journalist it was simply circumstance that made him the first man on the moon.
During a visit to the Intrepid two years before he died, Armstrong deflected questions about his incredible achievements, looking instead at future frontiers.
"He hoped we will continue pursuing research and history and really successes in the space program," said Marenhoff-Zausner.
Testifying before Congress in 2010, Armstrong said he was concerned about the direction the space program was heading.
Referring to the former Soviet Union, he said in an interview, "When we lost the competition, we lost the public will to continue."
President Barack Obama said he's deeply saddened to hear about Armstrong's passing.
In a statement, the president says Armstrong and his fellow astronauts "carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable - that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible."
John Glenn, the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth, said Armstrong was the only person he ever envied.
"To do what he did, be the first person to ever set foot, ever make a footprint on someplace other than Earth is to me just one of the big steps of history," said Glenn. "We're fortunate to be living in that time, where it occurred in our time."
Armstrong's fellow Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, said they too will miss him, calling him a dedicated and conscientious scientist and friend.