John Glenn


Age: 95

astronaut and politician who was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth and the last surviving member of the original Mercury 7 astronauts whose 1962 flight made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, who had two major career paths that often intersected with flying and politics as he soared in both of them while he was a fighter pilot in two wars and set a transcontinental speed record as a test pilot before he gained fame orbiting the world, who later served 24 years in the U.S. Senate from Ohio in a rare setback that was a failed 1984 run for the Democratic presidential nomination, whose long political career enabled him to return to space in the shuttle Discovery at age 77 in 1998 during a cosmic victory lap that he relished and turned into a teachable moment about growing old, and who was the ultimate (and uniquely) American space hero more than anything.

Cause of Death: Lengthy illness

Born: July 18, 1921

Died: December 8, 2016

Columbus, Ohio