Alan Bean (1932 - 2018), Apollo astronaut walked on the Moon

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U.S. astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the moon, has died, his family announced in a statement released by NASA.

His family said in a statement that Bean, who was the fourth person to walk on the moon, died in Houston on Saturday, two weeks after falling ill while traveling.

Bean was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 12, which made the second moon landing, in 1969. Bean also commanded the second crewed flight to Skylab, America's first space station, in 1973. On that mission, he orbited the Earth for 59 days.

Working from his home in Houston, Mr. Bean strove for accuracy in presenting the astronauts' gear and the prevailing light, but he used color liberally in place of the black, gray and white of the lunar terrain and the skies.

Artist-astronaut Alan Bean, the moonwalker who saw himself as different from the rest, died today at the age of 86 at Houston Medical Hospital.

Born March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, Bean received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

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"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's handsome.' 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.

But in 1981, he gave up his NASA career to become a full-time artist.

He obtained a commission in Navy aviation and after completing test-pilot school was selected by NASA as one of 14 new astronauts in October 1963.

Walt Cunningham, fellow astronaut who flew on Apollo 7, said the two have remained friends for 55 years. In the four decades since, he devoted his time to creating an artistic record of humanity's first exploration of another world. Anyone who had the opportunity to know Alan was a better person for it, and we were better astronauts by following his example. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly'. "He was a great man and this is a great loss".

He is survived by his second wife, Leslie, and by a son, Clay, and a daughter, Amy Sue, from his marriage to his first wife, Sue.

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