Neil Armstrong, the iconic global space hero, who became a household name for the first-ever moon landing, is no more. The media-shy and modest man, who credited others for the feat, died following cardiac complications. The 82-year old had undergone a bypass procedure sometime back
Armstrong, accompanied by Buzz Aldrin, had commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, capping the 20th century's most daring expedition. His words “A single step for man, a gaint leap for mankind”, as he set foot on the moon, are etched in history books. A record 60 crore people - a fifth of the world's population then - watched and listened to the landing.
The moonwalk marked America's victory in the space race that had begun on Oct. 4, 1957, with the erstwhile USSR's Sputnik 1 satellite. For NASA, it has been a period of huge loss, with two of its most celebrated astronauts passing away in quick succession. Armstrong's death closely follows that of Sally Ride, the first US spacewoman. Sally Ride, 61, had died of pancreatic cancer on July 23.