Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. photographed at Cape Canaveral, Florida, during preflight training activities for the Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) mission in 1962 Image Credit: NASA

 
It is with great sadness that Guinness World Records has learned of the death of iconic U.S. Astronaut John Glenn, a key figure in the 20th century space race, known for his admirable bravery and passion for the stars. 
 
After his recent hospitalization at the Hames Cancer Center at Ohio State University (USA), it was reported yesterday by the governor of Ohio that the respected spaceman and former Senator was no longer with us. 
 
Glenn was considered by the American public as a symbol of the space age. 
 
His earliest mission was aboard the Friendship 7 in 1962, where he was hailed a national hero after being the first American to orbit the Earth, circling three times over the course of four hours. 
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John Glenn, Jr., in his Mercury flight suit. Credit: NASA
 
Upon returning to Earth, the NASA space engineer was welcomed with open arms by the public. 
 
He was celebrated with parades and massive press, even getting an invitation to the White House to meet President Kennedy. 
 
John Glenn served his country with honour over the course of his life, not only an astronaut but also as a colonel for the U.S. Marines and later on, as Senator for the state of Ohio. 
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President Barack Obama presents John Glenn, Jr. with a Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House in Washington in 2012,  Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
 
Despite furthering his potential politically, Glenn never lacked the ambition to go beyond the atmosphere. 
 
At the age of 77 years and 103 days, he launched into space once again as part of the Discovery STS-95 in 1998, officially becoming the world’s Oldest astronaut. 

The mission, with its enduring demands, proved to be just another day in space for Glenn. 
 
He returned safety after spending 11 days in zero gravity. 
 
Before his death, Glenn was awarded several achievements, including the Presidential Medal of Honor of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, as well as having a NASA research library named in his honour. 
 
He will forever be remembered as the spaceman who defied the odds, and the hero who had the courage to enter into an atmosphere unknown.
 
in the video below, current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden gives his recollections of the pioneering astronaut.