John Glenn, the first American to successfully orbit Earth has died at age 95 on Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio.
Glenn, who also served four full-terms as a Democratic Senator representing Ohio from 1974 to 1999, first circled the globe three times in 1962. In 1998 at age 77, Glenn became the oldest person to ever go into space when he was launched on the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Glenn was born on July 18, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio.
Glenn enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and flew patrol missions in North China until he became a flight instructor at NAS Corpus Christi in 1948. During the Korean War he flew in 90 combat missions, some of which he flew with Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Outfielder Ted Williams.
In 1958 Glenn joined the newly formed NASA as an astronaut, which culminated in the historic orbit of Earth in 1962 aboard the Friendship 7. Glenn’s feat was celebrated with a ticker-tape parade in New York City and he also met with President John F. Kennedy.
In 1970 Glenn made a first unsuccessful run at the U.S. Senate, before he was able to gain a seat representing Ohio four years later.
Then, in 1998, Glenn opted to return to space when he climbed aboard Discovery’s STS-95 as a payload specialist, despite being 77 years old. Glenn lobbied NASA for two years for his seat to fly as a human guinea pig for geriatric studies, according to the New York Times.
In 2014, Glenn underwent successful heart valve replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and also had a stroke around the same time. In 2016 he was hospitalized at the James Cancer Hospital of OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus for a variety of health issues before succumbing on Dec. 8. There has been no cause of death disclosed.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Annie, his daughter, Carolyn Ann Glenn and son, John David Glenn, as well as two grandsons.