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Apollo Moonwalker and artist Alan Bean dies at 86
27 May 2018, 09:58 | Justin Tyler
Astronaut Alan Bean dies at the age of 86
Bean was the fourth person to walk on the moon and spent over 10 hours on the lunar surface during Apollo 12.
The moonwalker who went on to become a painter died Saturday in Houston after suddenly falling ill weeks before, the statementsaid.
Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, which made the second moon landing in 1969.
Bean returned to space in 1973, as the commander of NASA's second crewed flight to the U.S.' first space station, Skylab. He, along with two other astronauts spent 59 days in space for the mission setting a then record.
"Alan Bean once said 'I have the nicest life in the world, '" National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
Astronaut Scott Kelly mourned Bean on Twitter, calling him a "spaceflight pioneer".
The three astronauts who preceded Alan Bean to the moon's surface were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 in July 1969, and Charles Conrad who was also on the Apollo 12 mission.
Alan LaVern Bean was born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, but grew up in Fort Worth.
He retired from Nasa in 1981 and carved a successful career as an artist.
United States Navy Captain Alan Bean became an astronaut in 1963.
"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's attractive.' Then I said to myself, 'Quit screwing off and go collect rocks.' We figured reflection wasn't productive", Alan Bean was quoted as saying by People magazine in 1981.
"Alan and I have been best friends for 55 years - ever since the day we became astronauts", said Walt Cunningham, who flew on Apollo 7.
Massimino continued, "But what was truly extraordinary was his deep caring for others and his willingness to inspire and teach by sharing his personal journey so openly".
In addition to his wife, Leslie, Alan Bean is survived by a sister, Paula Stott; and two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue Bean and Clay Bean. "I'd say 60 percent of them thought maybe I was having a midlife crisis", Mr. Bean recalled in his book "Apollo", written with Andrew Chaikin, in which he reproduced many of his paintings.
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