Former astronaut Gene Cernan dies at 82

Eugene “Gene” Cernan, former NASA astronaut and the last man to walk on the moon, has died at age 82, NASA announced Monday.

Cernan was born on March 14, 1934, in Chicago. Before making three space flights he was an officer in the United States Navy and an engineer.

Cernan was the commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972, which was the last lunar mission and one of the final Apollo flights. He became the 11th person to walk on the moon. Cernan was the last to re-enter the lunar module, giving him the designation of being the last person to walk on the lunar surface.

On the Apollo 10 flight, Cernan and Commander Tom Stafford flew to within eight miles of the surface of the moon. The May mission served as preparation for the historic Apollo 11 mission two months later.

He retired from NASA and the Navy in 1976.

Cernan’s death leaves six astronauts remaining who have walked on the moon.