John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, hospitalized in declining health at 95

John Glenn, a war hero and the first American to orbit planet Earth, has been hospitalized in Ohio for over a week.

Senator Glenn is 95, and was admitted to James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH last week. Further details of his diagnosis and condition have not been made public.

Hank Wilson, spokesman at the university's John Glenn College of Public Affairs said the former astronaut does not necessarily have cancer, despite the name of the hospital to which he was admitted. Glenn helped found this same hospital.


From Reuters:

"When you're 95, it's always considered serious," said Wilson, who did not have further details about Glenn's condition or his prognosis.

Glenn, the last surviving member of the original seven "Right Stuff" Mercury astronauts, had a knee replacement operation in 2011 and underwent heart surgery in 2014.

Glenn was credited with reviving U.S. pride after the Soviet Union's early domination of manned space exploration, as he became the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962. Reaching speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour, he circled the globe three times in just under five hours in the Friendship 7 capsule. Glenn instantly became a hero, receiving a ticker-tape parade in New York City and the Space Congressional Medal of Honor from President John Kennedy.

His experiences as a pioneer astronaut were chronicled in the book and movie "The Right Stuff," along with the other Mercury pilots.

Glenn also became the oldest astronaut ever, returning to space at the age of 77 on Oct. 29, 1998.



Glenn had heart-valve replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in 2014 and suffered a stroke, but the exact illness leading to his hospitalization has not been disclosed. His health, including his eyesight, has declined in recent years.


Glenn was an incredible fighter pilot. Six Distinguished Flying Crosses were awarded to him. He flew more than 150 missions in World War Two and the Korean War.

Our respect and love goes out to this American hero. John Glenn is a hero of the entire human race. His extraordinary achievements have helped us all understand how very much we are all on this one little planet together.