WASHINGTON, Aug 26 � Legendary American astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took �one giant leap for mankind� as the first human to set foot on the moon in 1969 during the Cold War space race, has died. He was 82, reports PTI.
Armstrong, who had undergone bypass surgery days after his birthday on August 5, died yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio.
�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.
A quiet, private man, at heart an engineer and crack test pilot, Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, as the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.
It had taken Apollo 11 craft, carrying Armstrong and fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, four days to complete the nearly 400,000 kms journey, as the world waited with bated breath.
The 195-hour journey that etched Armstrong�s place in history riveted the world�s attention at a time of profound social tumult and change in the United States.
The moon landing was also a major victory for US President John F Kennedy, who at the height of the Cold War in 1961 committed himself to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely before the decade was out.
US officials were alarmed by the success of Cold War rival Soviet Union�s Sputnik on October 4, 1957.
Armstrong was on the moon�s surface for two hours and 32 minutes and Aldrin, who followed him, spent about 15 minutes less than that.
The two astronauts set up an American flag, scooped up moon rocks and set up scientific experiments before returning to the main spacecraft.
�That�s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,� is how Armstrong had broken the historic news from the Earth�s satellite when he radioed back.
�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,� the family statement said.
�For those who may ask what they can do to honour Neil, we have a simple request. Honour 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,� it added.