'Last man to walk on the moon' Gene Cernan dies at age 82

- Aerospace pioneer Gene Cernan, who completed three space flights and two voyages to the moon, has died at the age of 82. Cernan's legacy also includes being the second American to walk in space and the last human to walk on the moon.

Gene Cernan retired from the U.S. Navy as a Captain, 20 years after his enlistment, and ended his NASA career on July 1, 1976, three days before the U.S. bicentennial.

Cernan's family released the following joint statement on Monday:

It is with very deep sadness that we share the loss of our beloved husband and father. Our family is heartbroken, of course, and we truly appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers. Gene, as he was known by so many, was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.

Even at the age of 82, Gene was passionate about sharing his desire to see the continued human exploration of space and encouraged our nation's leaders and young people to not let him remain the last man to walk on the Moon.

Cernan is survived by his wife, Jan Nanna Cernan, his daughter and son-in-law, Tracy Cernan Woolie and Marion Woolie, step-daughters Kelly Nanna Taff and husband, Michael, and Danielle Nanna Ellis and nine grandchildren.

Former President George H. W. Bush released the following statement regarding Cernan's death:

By his courage, Gene Cernan secured a place in American history that, like the footprints he left on the moon, will never fade. He was a true hero who inspired us and made his fellow Americans proud. But more than that, Gene was a true friend, and Barbara and I join in extending our sincere condolences to Jan and Gene’s beautiful family.

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