Neil Armstrong in 2010 (Photo : Reuters)
President Barack Obama and his opponent in the 2012 presidential race, Mitt Romney, have both issued statements on the death of Neil Armstrong.
The astronaut, who commanded the 1969 Apollo 11 mission and was the first person to walk on the moon, died today at age 82. Cause of death was complications from heart surgery.
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President Obama said that he and First Lady Michelle Obama were "deeply saddened" to hear of Armstrong's death.
"Neil was among the greatest of American heroes - not just of his time, but of all time," the President said. "When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable - that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.
"Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown - including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure - sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step."
Romney said: "Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before. The moon will miss its first son of earth.
"I met and spoke with Neil Armstrong just a few weeks ago-his passion for space, science and discovery, and his devotion to America will inspire me through my lifetime."