TAMPA, Fla. -- President Obama and Mitt Romney offered condolences Saturday on the passing of Neil Armstrong, hailing the first man to walk on the moon as a courageous hero who inspired Americans during his historic 1969 mission and whose legacy lives on in modern-day explorations of the unknown.
Obama said that Armstrong, who died of complications from earlier heart surgery, was among the greatest American heroes, and that Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crew “carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation.”
“They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable -- that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible,” Obama said. “And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.”
Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said he was inspired by Armstrong, with whom he spoke recently.
“His passion for space, science and discovery and his devotion to America will inspire me through my lifetime,” he said.
Romney hailed the 82-year-old former astronaut's achievements.
“Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before,” Romney said. “The moon will miss its first son of earth.”