Pioneering astronaut John Glenn has died, aged 95

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Former astronaut John Glenn has died in Ohio. He was 95.

Glenn became a national hero in 1962 when he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Hank Wilson with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs said Glenn died this afternoon at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus.

John Glenn at a Nasa event
John Glenn went on to become a US senator (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Glenn was the third US astronaut in space and the first of them to get into orbit. He circled the Earth three times.

The Soviet Union had put a man into orbit a year earlier in 1961.

Glenn then spent 24 years as a Democrat from Ohio in the Senate and briefly made a run for president in 1984.

He returned to space in 1998, at age 77, aboard space shuttle Discovery.

He was the last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts.

Here are some of the most memorable quotes from the astronaut and politician.

Astronaut John Glenn on the Friendship 7
John Glenn became the first man to orbit the earth (AP)

"We are placed here with certain talents and capabilities. It is up to each of us to use those talents and capabilities as best you can. If you do that, I think there is a power greater than any of us that will place the opportunities in our way, and if we use our talents properly, we will be living the kind of life we should live." - At a Nasa news conference in 1959 to introduce the Mercury 7 astronauts of which he was part.

"Zero-G and I feel fine." - While in orbit in 1962.

"To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible." - On his second flight on space shuttle Discovery in 1998 at the age of 77.

John Glenn at a Nasa event
"Don't tune out, cop out or drop out" (Jay LaPrete/AP)

"Don't tune out, cop out or drop out. Don't give in to complacency and cynicism. Don't ignore what is bad, but concentrate on building what is good. Don't take America and the values reflected in our form of government for granted. And never forget that in our democracy, the government is not 'them' - it is 'us'." - Announcing his retirement from the US Senate in 1997.

"We are more fulfilled when we are involved in something bigger than ourselves." - Keynote address at Ohio State University's commencement in 2009.