Neil Armstrong remembered as 'reluctant hero'

The tributes have been pouring in for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who has died at age 82. People are remembering both his achievements and his preference for staying out of the limelight after his historic space mission.

First human to walk on the moon dies at age 82

The tributes have been pouring in for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who has died at age 82. People are remembering both his achievements and his modesty.

Armstrong made his lunar landing on July 20, 1969 and uttered the famous quote: "That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."

That was his last space mission. After that he took a desk job, then went on to teach engineering in his home state of Ohio, staying out of the limelight.

Armstrong died Saturday of complications from heart bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month.

When the news of his death spread, family, friends and others who were influenced by Armstrong offered these quotes:

— "For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink." — Armstrong's family, who also praised him as a "reluctant American hero" and someone who "served his nation proudly."

— "Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they 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. 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." — U.S. President Barack Obama

— "Neil Armstrong was a very personal inspiration to all of us within the astronaut office. His historic step onto the Moon's surface was the foundation for many of our personal dreams to become astronauts. The only thing that outshone his accomplishments was his humility about those accomplishments. We will miss him as a friend, mentor, explorer and ambassador for the American spirit of ingenuity." — Bob Behnken, chief of the NASA Astronaut Office

Apollo XI Astronauts Neil Armstrong, left, Michael Collins, centre, and Buzz Aldrin laugh with President Richard Nixon aboard the USS Hornet on July 24, 1969. (Richard Nixon Foundation/Reuters)

— "As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind's first small step on a world beyond our own. Besides being one of America's greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation. As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong." — Charles Bolden, NASA administrator

— "He was the best, and I will miss him terribly." — Michael Collins, who flew to the moon with Armstrong and served as the command module pilot

— "When I think of Neil, I think of someone who for our country was dedicated enough to dare greatly." — John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth and Armstrong's close friend

— "On behalf of the Aldrin family we extend our deepest condolences to Carol & the entire Armstrong family on Neil's passing. He will be missed." — Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon, via Twitter

— "Gabby and I are both sad to hear of the loss of Neil Armstrong. He was an icon of exploration and a great American. He will be missed." — retired astronaut Mark Kelly with wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, via Twitter

—"RIP Neil Armstrong. Thank you for everything, for your sacrifices, achievements, and inspiration. We will try to carry on your legacy." — Bobak Ferdowsi, flight director on the current Mars Curiosity mission, famously photographed with a mohawk haircut

— "Neil Armstrong understood that we should reach beyond the stars. His 'one giant leap for mankind' was taken by a giant of a man." — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who flew on space shuttle Columbia in 1986, just one month before the Challenger accident

— "Neil was a humble man who devoted his life and his career to serving a greater cause. From the children who strive to explore the stars to those who devote their lives to reaching beyond the bonds of earth, one can only hope to follow in his footsteps." — Lou Rains, chairman of the Coalition for Space Exploration

— "He was a legend and he could have gone and done all kinds of things, made a fortune. But he went back and taught school. Imagine being an engineering student at the University of Cincinnati, and here's your professor. It's Mr. Armstrong. He's the first person to walk on the moon." — NASA chief historian Bill Barry

— "Neil Armstrong is one of my heroes. He inspired and challenged us all to work at the edges of what's possible. A life well-lived. RIP Neil." — Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield via Twitter

— "It was a beautiful moon-lit night and I was seized by this historical moment and I didn’t really believe that it was possible. Of course, this was a great achievement, the first human being to set foot on another celestial body."— Marc Garneau, the first Canadian to fly on a NASA mission to space

— "He was the only astronauts that I've seen in the corps where other astronauts line up to get his autograph." — Canadian astronaut Dave Williams

with files from CBC News