The first American to orbit the earth has passed away at age 95, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced today on Twitter. The New York Times reported that Glenn was recently hospitalized at the James Cancer Center at Ohio State University in Columbus where he made his home.
Glenn’s famous space flight was a major triumph for the nation in 1962 when fears about the Soviet Union’s space program were abundant. He was 40 years old at the time of the flight.
After his career as a Marine Test Pilot, Glenn lead a successful career in public life in the Senate for 24 years. Throughout, he remained humble about his famous flight.
“What got a lot of attention, I think, was the tenuous times we thought we were living in back in the Cold War. I don’t think it was about me. All this would have happened to anyone who happened to be selected for that flight.” Glenn stated in an interview.
He returned to space again in 1998 aboard the shuttle Discovery at age 77, making him the oldest person to go to space.
Before becoming an astronaut, Glenn flew combat missions in both WWII, the Korean War, and put his life at risk as the first pilot to make a transcontinental supersonic flight from Los Angeles to New York.
He is survived by his wife Anna Glenn; his two children, Carolyn Ann Glenn and John David Glenn; and two grandsons, Daniel and Zach Glenn.