CNN BREAKING NEWS . . .

John Glenn, former US senator and the first American to orbit the Earth, has died, Ohio State University says. He was 95.

Glenn piloted the Mercury space capsule, dubbed Friendship 7, and circled the planet three times in just under five hours on February 20, 1962. Of the original seven US astronauts who made up Project Mercury — Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Donald Slayton — Glenn was the last surviving member.

After resigning from the astronaut program in 1964, he pursued a career in politics, serving as a Democratic US senator from Ohio between 1974 and 1999.

At 77, he became the oldest person to ever travel in space. Glenn was a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery for a nine-day mission in 1998.

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