Michael Collins, part of the crew on Apollo 11, died Wednesday at the age of 90.
Collins was a member of the 3-man Apollo 11 crew that performed the first lunar landing in history. While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, Collins was left behind to pilot the command module orbiting the earth.
When the moon-walkers ascended from the surface of the moon, Collins played the integral role in docking with the lunar lander in order to get Armstrong and Aldrin home.
"He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side," Collins's family said. "Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way."
NASA issued its own statement of condolence for the loss of the space pioneer.
"NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential," administrator Steve Jurczyk said. "Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America's first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons."
Collins had been battling cancer for several months.