Eugene Cernan, the last astronaut to walk on the moon - an experience that he said made him “belong to the universe,” died on Monday at the age of 82, the U.S. space agency said.
Cernan, who was also the second man to walk in space, died surrounded by his family, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement without providing details.
A separate statement from his family and released by NASA said his death came after “ongoing health issues.”
Cernan and fellow Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt became members of the most exclusive club in the universe on Dec. 11, 1972, when they stepped from their lunar landing module onto the moon’s surface. Only 10 other people - all American astronauts - had done so before and none since.
“Oh, my golly,” Cernan told mission control in Houston as he touched the moon. “Unbelievable.” For three days, the moon was home for Cernan and Schmitt.