Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut, dies after battle with cancer

Michael Collins, an Apollo 11 astronaut, has died after a battle with cancer, according to his family. He was 90.

Collins’ family released the following statement:

“We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer. He spent his final days with his family 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.”

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Collins was the pilot of the Apollo 11 command module, according to NASA. The mission was the spaceflight that first landed men on the Moon.

NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said some called Collins “the loneliest man in history” while his colleagues, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, walked on the Moon for the first time.

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Collins also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot.

“NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential,” Jurczyk said. “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.”

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.