OSU: Astronaut John Glenn dies at 95

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Former Ohio Senator and the first American to orbit the earth has died at age 95.

He was admitted to The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center last week where a  source close to the Glenn family confirmed that he was gravely ill.

The university released a statement about his death Thursday.

In 2014 Glenn has had a heart valve replacement who recovered well from the surgery according to Hank Wilson spokesman for the Glenn School of Public Affairs.

Glenn was raised in New Concord, Ohio and was living in Columbus with his wife, Annie.

John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth in 1962. He also served four terms as a U.S. Senator.

In 1998, at 77-years-old, Glenn returned to space, becoming the oldest person ever to make that trip.

Hank Wilson with Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs said Wednesday that Glenn is at the James Cancer Hospital, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has cancer.

Wilson said he didn’t have other information about Glenn’s condition, illness or prognosis.

Glenn apologized for his poor eyesight this year at the renaming of Columbus’ airport after him. He said then he’d lost some of his eyesight because of macular degeneration and a small stroke. Glenn had a heart valve replacement in 2014.

Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth in 1962 and was a member of NASA’s Mercury Seven crew that led the U.S. into space. With Scott Carpenter’s death in 2013, he became the crew’s last surviving member.

In July Glenn’s in-flight instructions during his historic 1962 Mercury spaceflight sold at auction fro $67K.

In June the Port Columbus International Airport was renamed to John Glenn Columbus International Airport in his honor.

Glenn also has a stretch of road named after him in the Miami Valley, Colonel Glenn Highway, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“He did so many things. He served in WWII and Korea and as a U.S. Senator and did an awful lot of public service over many decades that has benefited all of us. That is why he is an American, an Ohio hero and that’s why the Air Force cherishes his memory,” said Doug Lantry, a historian for the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Ohio Governor John Kasich released a statement regarding Glenn’s death:

“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve. As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation. Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots. Godspeed, John Glenn!” – Governor John Kasich

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