Michael Collins, one of the astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, has died at the age of 90 following a battle with cancer.
Collins’s family posted a statement to his Twitter page on Wednesday announcing the astronaut's death and commemorating his life.
“We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer,” Collins’s family said in the statement. “He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way.”
Family Statement on Passing of Astronaut Michael Collins pic.twitter.com/6OAw7CzFaz— Michael Collins (@AstroMCollins) April 28, 2021
President Joe BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE shortly afterward issued a statement on Collins' death, saying he lived his life serving his country.
"Michael Collins lived a life of service to our country. From his time in the Air Force, to his career with NASA, to his service at the State Department, to his leadership of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; Michael Collins both wrote and helped tell the story of our nation’s remarkable accomplishments in space." Biden said in his statement.
"Our prayers are with General Collins’ family. Godspeed, Mike."
Often known as the “forgotten astronaut,” Collins was the command module pilot for the 1969 lunar mission but did not step foot on the moon like his other crew members Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
He was born in Rome, Italy, where his dad was a military general for the U.S Army. Collins would go on to graduate from West Point and later become a test pilot for the Air Force.
Collins became an astronaut with NASA in 1963 and his first flight happened with the Gemini 10 three years later. After Apollo 11, Collins retired from NASA in 1970 and wrote several books about his time being an astronaut.
He later worked at the State Department before becoming director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s.
NASA praised Collins in a statement Wednesday, saying he "inspired generations and his legacy propels us further into the cosmos."
We mourn the passing of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who piloted humanity’s first voyage to the surface of another world. An advocate for exploration, @AstroMCollins inspired generations and his legacy propels us further into the cosmos: https://t.co/47by569R56 pic.twitter.com/rKMxdTIYYm— NASA (@NASA) April 28, 2021