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

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Leaving his footprints on a region called the Ocean of Storms, Bean in November 1969 became the fourth man to walk on the moon as one of the astronauts on the second of NASA's lunar landing missions, Apollo 12. He attended the Navy Test Pilot school and accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flying time in 27 different types of aircraft.

"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew", she said.

Working at his home in Houston, Bean created paintings that focused on the Apollo missions, with images of himself and other astronauts on the moon rendered with the authenticity in lighting and color that only an eyewitness could provide.

Bean's wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in a statement that Bean died peacefully at Houston Methodist Memorial Hospital surrounded by those who loved him.

Bean spent 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface.

His second foray outside of Earth's atmosphere saw Bean log a record-breaking 59-day, 24.4 million-mile flight (39.3 million kilometers).

Alan Bean's "Reaching for the Stars" graces the wall of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

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

Alan Bean (R), pictured in November 1969 with his fellow USA astronauts of Apollo 12, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr.

"I just say it how I think it, even though other people will say, 'That's weird, ' because it's from the other side of the brain", he said.

Back in 1998, Mr Bean described his preparation for the moon landing as "Christmas and your birthday rolled into one", adding: "I mean, can you think of anything better?"

On his retirement from NASA in 1981 he started turning out works that incorporated moon dust and Apollo memorabilia in the paintings. "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter". "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.

In 1994 Bean told The New York Times the otherworldly perspectives he got in space inspired him to devote the latter half of his life to art, to the surprise of many of his colleagues.

"I said, 'I'm going to be an artist, '" Bean recalled.

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.

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