‘Mercury Seven’ astronaut, former senator Glenn hospitalized in Ohio

Former astronaut John Glenn, pictured wearing a Mercury pressure suit in 1962, was hospitalized in Columbus, Ohio, last week, according to an executive assistant to the former space engineer. It was not immediately reported what Glenn, 95, is suffering from. He had heart valve replacement surgery in 2014. UPI Photo/File

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 7 (UPI) — Former U.S. senator and NASA astronaut John Glenn has been hospitalized in central Ohio, officials said Wednesday.

Glenn was admitted to the James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University last week, a spokesman said Wednesday, although it wasn’t immediately reported why.

Glenn, 95, had heart valve replacement surgery in Cleveland two years ago but it wasn’t known whether his hospitalization in Columbus has anything to do with that procedure.

“Connie and I ask Ohioans to join us in sending our love to John and Annie Glenn and their children and to respect their family’s privacy at this difficult time,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Wednesday.

Space Shuttle Discovery astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., gives a thumbs up on his arrival at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle.Landing Facility aboard a T-38 jet in October 1998, when he became the oldest person to fly in space. UPI Photo/File
The Ohio native was one of the famous “Mercury Seven” test pilots NASA recruited in the 1960s to help develop the Mercury spacecraft. The seven men were the first astronauts in American history and the subject of endless books, television programs and films, such as 1983’s “The Right Stuff.”

Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on the Friendship 7 spacecraft in 1962 — being sent off with the famous phrase, “Godspeed John Glenn” — and the fifth human being in space. In 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space as a payload specialist on Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-95.

After concluding his NASA career, Glenn was elected to the U.S. Senate to represent Ohio in 1974 and served four terms before leaving office in 1999. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the White House’s highest civilian honor — in 2012.


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