WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement released on the behalf of Gene Cernan's family:
The family of Apollo Astronaut Capt. Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, announced that he passed away today following ongoing health issues.
"It is with very deep sadness that we share the loss of our beloved husband and father," said Cernan's family. "Our family is heartbroken, of course, and we truly appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers. Gene, as he was known by so many, was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend."
"Even at the age of 82, Gene was passionate about sharing his desire to see the continued human exploration of space and encouraged our nation's leaders and young people to not let him remain the last man to walk on the Moon," the family continued.
Humbled by his life experiences, particularly as an Apollo Astronaut, the retired Naval officer recently said, "I was just a young kid in America growing up with a dream. Today what's most important to me is my desire to inspire the passion in the hearts and minds of future generations of young men and women to see their own impossible dreams become a reality."
Cernan is survived by his wife, Jan Nanna Cernan, his daughter and son-in-law, Tracy Cernan Woolie and Marion Woolie, step-daughters Kelly Nanna Taff and husband, Michael, and Danielle Nanna Ellis and nine grandchildren.
As we say goodbye, it seems fitting to share the last line in Gene's book, THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON, as he explains his experience of walking on the Moon to his then five-year-old granddaughter, "Your Popie went to Heaven. He really did."
Details regarding services will be announced in the coming days.
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