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Former Astronaut and Senator John Glenn Passes Away at Age 95

John Glenn / AP
• December 8, 2016 3:57 pm

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Legendary astronaut and former Senator John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, passed away Thursday at 95 years old.

Glenn died at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by family including his wife Annie, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Glenn served as a pilot in the Marine Corps who flew missions in World War II and Korea. As a pilot, Glenn broke the transcontinental flight speed record.

Glenn came to fame as one of the original American astronauts, a member of the Mercury Seven. He flew in Friendship 7 and became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962.

After leaving the Marine Corps and NASA, Glenn began his political career, becoming a senator from Ohio in 1974. He served in the Senate until 1999. While a Democrat, Glenn was highly regarded by members of both political parties.

Glenn proved himself again by flying to space while still in the Senate. He flew aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998 at the age of 77, making him the oldest person to go into space.

Glenn is widely honored throughout Ohio. The airport in the state capital, Columbus, is named after Glenn, as is the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State, where he had close ties. Many schools are named after Glenn, and a NASA facility outside of Cleveland is named in his honor as well.

Glenn married Annie in 1943. They had known each other since they were toddlers and remained together through the decades to this day. Their marriage was immortalized in the 1983 film The Right Stuff, which was based on a Tom Wolfe book by the same name published four years earlier.

Glenn's body will lie in state at the Ohio Statehouse before a memorial service at Ohio State. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington, D.C.

Published under: Marines, NASA, Ohio, Senate