John Glenn, a former US senator and the first American astronaut to make a full orbit around the Earth, died in the afternoon of Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio. He is survived by his wife Annie, a childhood friend with whom he was married for 73 years.
The hero, who is from Ohio, passed away at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, surrounded by his family.
“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve,” said Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich. “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.”
Glenn was a military pilot in World War II, and while in the Marines broke a transcontinental speed record during one of his flights. The Columbus Dispatch noted his health and longevity. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American to travel in outer space.
Thirty-six years later, while serving as Senator from Ohio, he made a final trip into space as part of the seven-man crew of the space shuttle Discovery. It was 1998 and Glenn was 77, making him the oldest astronaut.
He holds the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which President Barack Obama presented him in 2012.
John Glenn served as Senator for 24 years. In 1984 he made a short bid for Democratic presidential nomination.