Michael Collins was the third American to perform a spacewalk, according to NASA
Michael Collins, the NASA astronaut who was the command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, has died at age 90 after battling cancer.
His family shared the news Wednesday after his passing on Collins’ Facebook page. “We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer,” the statement read.
“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. We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did. We will honor his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life,” the statement added.
NASA, where Collins spent seven years of his career as an astronaut, mourned the passing of the Apollo 11 astronaut.
“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,” NASA tweeted.
Collins was born in Italy, became an Air Force pilot, then an astronaut in the Gemini program, CNN reported.
He was the third American to perform a spacewalk, according to NASA. Including the Apollo 11 mission, Collins logged 266 hours in space, NASA said.