Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, has died, according to Sally Ride Science.
She died peacefully Monday after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61.
According to Sally Ride Science, her historic flight into space captured the nation's imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls.
After retiring from NASA, Sally used her high profile to champion a cause she believed in passionately--inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider pursuing careers in science and engineering.
According to NASA, Ride was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, and was a mission specialist on her historic ride on STS-7, which launched on June, 18, 1983.
President Barack Obama released a statement which read in part: "Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sally Ride. She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools. Sally's life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sally's family and friends."
Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy; her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science; and many friends and colleagues around the country.