Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died after a "valiant" fight with cancer, his family said Wednesday. He was 90.
The family said in a statement that Collins spent his final days peacefully, with loved ones by his side.
"Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way. We will miss him terribly," said the statement.
Collins served as command module pilot on Apollo 11, July 16-24, 1969, the first lunar landing mission. He orbited the moon while Neil Armstrong, spacecraft commander, and Edwin Aldrin, lunar module pilot, descended on the lunar surface in the Eagle lunar module.
NASA said Collins was "a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration."
"NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential," said Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk.
"Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America's first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons," said Jurczyk./aa