In May 1969 Young was part of the Apollo 10 mission that flew to the moon as a rehearsal for the Apollo 11 landing two months later.
Young was the only agency astronaut to go into space.
Forty-three years ago, Young - then a Navy test pilot - tuned in on a small, black-and-white television at the Naval Air Test Center in Florida as President John Kennedy addressed the nation. Young was also on the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle in 2004, Young recalled: "One-sixth gravity on the surface of the moon is just delightful".
He commanded Gemini 10, the first mission to rendezvous with two other spacecraft during a single flight.
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Saturday said, "We're saddened by the loss of astronaut John Young".
"He is the astronaut's astronaut, a hero among heroes who fly in space. You've just got to hang in there".
"John Young was at the forefront of human space exploration with his poise, talent, and tenacity", Lightfoot said.
"To us, he represented the best in the American spirit - always looking forward, always reaching higher", Bush said in a statement.
"John leaves a tremendous legacy of accomplishment, in addition to his wonderful family". "May his memory serve to inspire future generations of explorers to dare greatly, act boldly and serve selflessly".
Young was born on September 24, 1930, in San Francisco and grew up in Orlando, Florida. He was graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. NASA picked him in 1962 for its astronaut program.
Young served in many capacities at NASA including: Chief of the Space Shuttle Branch, Chief of the Astronaut Office, Technical Associate Director and more.