Scott Carpenter, the fourth U.S. astronaut to fly in space and the second to orbit Earth, died Thursday at a hospice in Denver, his wife, Patty, confirmed to Fox News.
Carpenter, 88, recently suffered a stroke, according to reports.
In 1959, NASA chose him as one of the nascent agency's first astronauts, part of the Project Mercury. He flew on his only mission to space on May 24, 1962, circling Earth three times.
"As one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, he was in the first vanguard of our space program -- the pioneers who set the tone for our nation's pioneering efforts beyond Earth and accomplished so much for our nation," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "After his spaceflights, Scott helped design the Apollo Lunar Landing Module and was active in underwater training of astronauts for spacewalks."
Born in Boulder, Colo., Carpenter grew up there and in New York City. A veteran of the Korean War, Carpenter retired from the Navy with the rank of commander.
His many awards and decorations include the Navy's Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Navy Astronaut Wings, the University of Colorado Recognition Medal, the Collier Trophy, the New York City Gold Medal of Honor, and more, according to his NASA biography.
"[Carpenter's] accomplishments truly helped our nation progress in space from the earliest days to the world leadership we enjoy today," Bolden said. "We will miss his passion, his talent and his lifelong commitment to exploration."
John Glenn is the now the last living member of the Mercury 7.
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