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Neil Armstrong Dies; Update: NBC News website’s headline mix-up

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By Doug Powers  •  August 25, 2012 04:55 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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We’ve lost a hero, pioneer, explorer, patriot and genuine inspiration for multiple generations who was nevertheless the essence of humility. It’s just been reported that Neil Armstrong has died at 82:

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, a statement Saturday from his family said.

The Associated Press report did not say where he died. Armstrong had heart surgery earlier this month, but few details were made public at the time. Armstrong was a reticent, self-effacing man who shunned the spotlight whenever possible.

Armstrong’s lunar stroll on July 20, 1969 — watched by an estimated 600 million television viewers worldwide — established him firmly as one of the great heroes of the 20th century.

NBC has a few other details about the life of the man who has been called the Christopher Columbus of the 20th Century:

Armstrong grew up in Ohio with a strong interest in flight and earned his pilot’s license while still a boy.

After flying combat missions during the Korean War, he became a test pilot and joined NASA’s astronaut program in 1962.

Armstrong’s pulse was measured at 150 beats per minute as he guided the lunar lander to the moon’s surface, NASA said.

Asked about his experience on the moon, he told CBS: “It’s an interesting place to be. I recommend it.”

A crater on the moon is named for Armstrong. It is located about 30 miles from the site of the landing.

In 2005 Armstrong was upset to learn that his barber had sold clippings of his hair to a collector for $3,000. The man who bought the hair refused to return it, saying he was adding it to his collection of locks from Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein and others.

Despite his taciturn nature, Armstrong once appeared in a television commercial for the U.S. automaker Chrysler. He said he made the ad because of Chrysler’s engineering history and his desire to help the company out of financial troubles.

Also, though he rarely did interviews, one of the few he granted was with an… Australian accountant.

One of Armstrong’s last public appearances (that I’m aware of) was when the Apollo 11 crew met with President Obama on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.

Buzz Aldrin statement on Twitter:

Godspeed, Commander Armstrong.

Update: NBCnews.com, which notes at the top of their story that they’ve made a name correction in the headline, sported a little error in an early version:

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Oh man. Try again, NBC — that Neil did Harvest Moon, but the Neil we’re talking about today did the actual moon.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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