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Former senator and astronaut John Glenn has died

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UPDATE 3:31 p.m. EST: 

John Glenn, 95, died on Thursday at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, surrounded by his family, reports The Columbus Dispatch

The Cambridge native served in more than100 combat missions over the Pacific as a Navy fighter pilot during his service in World War II and the Korean War.

Glenn was then recruited to the newly formed NASA in 1958, where he became the first person to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. 

After entering the business world as an executive for RC Cola, Glenn became more immersed in politics. After narrowly missing the Democratic party nomination for the US Senate in 1970, he eventually won the Senate seat in 1974, which he held until 1999.

At 77, Glenn became the oldest person to go into space when he was a payload specialist in October of 1998, after he lobbied NASA for two years to fly "as a human guinea pig for geriatric studies."

On June 28, 2016, Port Columbus Airport was renamed in his honor: John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

In 1998, he helped found the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy at the Ohio State University to encourage public service in 1998. It later merged with OSU's School of Public Policy and Management to become the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

(WSYX/WTTE contributed to this report)

Original Story

Glenn was hospitalized "more than a week ago," Ohio State University spokesman Hank Wilson told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Wilson said 95-year-old Glenn is at the James Cancer Hospital, but that "does not necessarily mean he has cancer," he wrote.

Earlier this year, Glenn said he had lost some of his eyesight to macular degeneration and a small stroke, according to the Associated Press.

He's received an outpouring of love and support on social media since Wednesday.

2016 can't end soon enough. "Dear 2016, don't you DARE take away John Glenn, too!"


Here's some background on Glenn:

  • He was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962
  • He served as a U.S. senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1999
  • He was on the cover of TIME twice, in 1962 and 1998
  • He was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2012

Just last week former astronaut Buzz Aldrin was hospitalized on his visit to the South Pole.

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