Dr. Sally Ride, the first American
woman in space, passed away Monday at the age of 61 after losing a
prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.
Ride, who also had the distinction of
being the youngest American in space, is the founder of the San
Diego-based Sally Ride Science, which is dedicated to supporting
young students' interest in science, math and technology.
Ride is survived by her partner of 27
years, Dr. Tam O'Shaughnessy, the executive vice president of Sally
Ride Science, her mother Joyce and sister Bear.
President Barack Obama reflected on
Ride's life: "As the first American woman to travel into space,
Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. 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."
Ride met O'Shaughnessy in 1985, just
two years after she made history as the first American female in
space aboard the NASA space shuttle Challenger.