HOUSTON, TX (KWES) - Astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon and an accomplished artist, died Saturday morning at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston.
His death followed his suddenly falling ill while on travel in Fort Wayne, Indiana two weeks before.
"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly," said Leslie Bean, Alan Bean's wife of 40 years. "A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him."
He flew into space twice.
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.
In total, Bean logged 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface.
Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981 and since then, he devoted his time to creating an artistic record of humanity's first exploration of another world.
His Apollo-themed paintings featured canvases textured with lunar boot prints and were made using acrylics embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.
Born March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, Bean received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955. He attended the Navy Test Pilot School and accumulated more than 5,500 hours of flying time in 27 different types of aircraft.
He is survived by his wife Leslie, a sister Paula Stott, and two children from a prior marriage, a daughter Amy Sue and son Clay.