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John Glenn dies at age 95: First US astronaut to orbit earth passes away

John Glenn, the first US astronaut to orbit the earth, has died at the age of 95.

Hank Wilson with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs said Glenn died on Thursday afternoon at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus.

Glenn had been in hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for more than a week.

He died surrounded by his children and wife of 73 years.

"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," said Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich.

"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!" Kasich said.

On Febuary 20, 1962 Glenn flew the NASA mission Friendship 7, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth.

Glenn was the third US astronaut in space and the first of them to get into orbit. He circled the Earth three times.

The Soviet Union had put a man into orbit a year earlier in 1961.

Glenn then spent 24 years as a Democrat from Ohio in the Senate and briefly made a run for president in 1984.

He returned to space in 1998, at age 77, aboard space shuttle Discovery.

He was the last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts.

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