Gene Cernan, last astronaut to walk on the moon, dies at 82

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NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan, Commander of the Apollo 17 lunar mission, is welcomed back to Earth by a US Navy Pararescueman, after splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, 19th December 1972. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

Former astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, has died at age 82.

NASA announced that Cernan died Monday surrounded by his family. NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs confirmed the death but had no immediately details.

Cernan and Apollo 17 crewmate Harrison Schmitt spent three days on the moon in December 1972. As he followed Schmitt into the lunar lander for the return home, he offered a message of “peace and hope for all mankind.”

He also traced the initials of his 9-year-old daughter into the dust of the lunar surface.

Cernan also took part in a Gemini spaceflight in 1965 and in Apollo 10, the last mission before the one that put Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969.