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Gene Cernan, last astronaut on the moon, dies at 82

Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan touches an American flag on the surface of the moon.
Nasa | Getty Images
Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan touches an American flag on the surface of the moon.

Former astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, has died at age 82.

NASA announced that Cernan died Monday surrounded by his family. NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs confirmed the death but had no immediately details.

Cernan and Apollo 17 crewmate Harrison Schmitt spent three days on the moon in December 1972. As he followed Schmitt into the lunar lander for the return home, he offered a message of "peace and hope for all mankind."

He also traced the initials of his 9-year-old daughter into the dust of the lunar surface.

Cernan also took part in a Gemini spaceflight in 1965 and in Apollo 10, the last mission before the one that put Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969.