Astronaut Alan Bean, who became the fourth person to walk on the moon and later created an artistic record of the Apollo program, has died, his family says. "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", Bean's widow, Leslie Bean, said in a statement. "And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston", Cunningham said.
She said that Bean, a native Texan, died peacefully while surrounded by his loved ones.
He was among the elite group NASA chose for its third group of astronauts in 1963, having served as a test pilot in the US Navy. He flew twice into space, first as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, in November 1969, and then as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in July 1973.
Said Bridenstine: "After logging 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space, Alan passed the baton to the next generation of astronauts and changed fronts, looking to push the boundaries of his own imagination and ability as an artist".
Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and from NASA six years later.
According to NASA, Bean based that decision on his almost two decades of experience as an astronaut "during which he visited places and saw things no artist's eye had ever seen firsthand".
"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", Bean told People magazine in 1981.More news: Helicopters on standby for large-scale evacuation in Hawaii
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Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, which made the second moon landing in 1969.
Astronaut-artist Alan Bean speaks at the 2009 opening of an exhibit titled "Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World" at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington. "And for most of the other guys, most of the things they think about come from the left side".
"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People.
Bean was born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, and grew up in Fort Worth.
In addition to his wife Leslie, Alan is survived by his sister Paula Stott and two children from a prior marriage, daughter Amy Sue and son Clay.
"I said, 'I'm going to be an artist, '" Bean recalled.