Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Dies at Age 82

By: Gabrielle Chung / August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong — the first astronaut to walk on the moon — passed away Saturday at the age of 82.

The famous astronaut commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and he was famously quoted in calling the expedition “one giant leap for mankind” during the historic transmission back to Earth. He spent nearly three hours walking on the moon with astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

Armstrong recently underwent a cardiac bypass surgery after discovering blockages in the arteries leading to his heart on August 6.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures,” his family said in a statement.

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves,” his family tells ABC News.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Armstrong and his wife, Carol, married in 1999, but he has largely stayed out of public view in the recent years.

The cultural icon’s last public appearance was in May when he joined Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida to celebrate the opening of The National Flight Academy.

Aldrin and astronaut Michael Collins are now the only surviving members of the Apollo 11 mission.