Alan Bean, fourth person to walk on the moon, has died

Astronaut Alan L Bean holds a Special Environmental Sample Container filled with lunar soil collected during the Apollo 12 mission in this

Two weeks earlier, he suddenly became ill while traveling in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

During the Apollo 12 mission, Bean walked on the moon alongside Charles "Pete" Conrad, who died in July 1999 at age 69.

He went into space twice, the first time in November 1969 as the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 moon-landing mission. "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", Alan's wife Leslie, to whom he was married for 40 years, said in the statement.

She said that Bean, a native Texan, died peacefully while surrounded by his loved ones.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the space agency mourned his loss. "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. Eventually, Bean and Conrad spent more than 31 hours on the moon's surface, including more than seven hours working outside of the lunar module. He said the 75 pounds of lunar samples they collected were "a scientific gift that keeps on giving today and in the future".

When Bean, a former Navy test pilot, left NASA in 1981, he drew on a long-standing interest in painting to become a full-time artist, creating images of the era when science fiction shifted into reality. He then turned his attention to what Schmitt called a "third career" as a painter. "I was fortunate to be the first artist with the opportunity to be in the center of the action to capture what I saw and felt, and bring it back to earth to share with generations to come".

Bean's favorite theme was to depict astronauts in flight or on the lunar surface. The paintings sometimes included footprints from a molding of the boots he wore on the moon along with pieces of his spacesuit patches and a sprinkling of their moondust residue. "I thought maybe I could learn to be, so that appealed to me".

"I think of myself not as an astronaut who paints", he added, "but as an artist who was once an astronaut". And it got me in trouble at NASA at first.

Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope, remembered Mr Bean as "extraordinary".

With Bean's death, only four moonwalkers are still alive - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison "Jack" Schmitt.

In addition to his wife, Leslie, Alan Bean is survived by a sister, Paula Stott; and two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue Bean and Clay Bean.

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