Mourners across the U.S. paid tribute to John Glenn and remembered the first American to orbit the Earth as a “true American hero” following his death Thursday.
Glenn, 95, passed away after being hospitalized for more than a week, officials said. The former astronaut became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and served as a U.S. Senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1999.
President Barack Obama said in a statement that Glenn’s space travel “lifted the hopes of a nation.”
“The first American to orbit the earth reminded us that with courage and the spirit of discovery there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together,” Obama said.
President-elect Donald Trump said in a statement that Glenn was “a hero” who “inspired generations of future explorers.”
“He leaves an undiminished legacy as one of the great people of our time,” said Michael Drake, the president of Ohio State University, where Glenn has been teaching as an adjunct professor until recently.
Drake said in a statement that Glenn was “Ohio’s consummate public servant and a true American hero.” “He was an authentic hero whose courage, integrity, sacrifice and achievements inspired people, young and old, around the world,” Drake said.
NASA shared the same sentiment, writing on Twitter that it was “saddened” by Glenn’s loss. “A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn. Ad astra,” the tweet said.
Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson also paid his respects to Glenn on Twitter, lamenting that there “aren’t many heroes left” with Glenn’s passing. And fellow space pioneer Alan Stern said Glenn was a “historic figure.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich praised Glenn for always remaining true to his Ohio roots. “John Glenn is, and will always be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve,” Kasich said in a statement. “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!”