Gene Cernan, last man to walk on the moon, dies

UNDATED (AP) — Gene Cernan, the retired U.S. astronaut who was the last man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82.

NASA announced that Cernan died Monday surrounded by his family. NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs confirmed the death but had no immediately details.

Former NASA astronaut and last man to walk on the moon, Gene Cernan, waits for an interview to begin during a news availability at the Omniplex science museum in Oklahoma City, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007. Cernan is standing in front of a mock-up of an Apollo simulator.

Cernan and Apollo 17 crewmate Harrison Schmitt spent three days on the moon in December 1972. As he followed Schmitt into the lunar lander for the return home, he offered a message of “peace and hope for all mankind.” He also traced the initials of his 9-year-old daughter into the dust of the lunar surface.

Cernan also took part in a Gemini spaceflight in 1965 and in Apollo 10, the last mission before the one that put Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969.

In all, Cernan was in space for 566 hours and 15 minutes, about 73 hours of which was on the moon.

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