President Barack Obama on Monday announced that he will award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Sally Ride.

Ride, the first American woman in space, passed away in July at the age of 61 after losing a prolonged 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She also held the distinction of being the youngest American in space and the first lesbian, though she never spoke about her private life in public.

Among those listed as survivors in Ride's obituary was Tam O'Shaughnessy, who became romantically involved with Ride in 1985, just two years after she made history as the first American female in space aboard the NASA space shuttle Challenger.

“We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women,” Obama said in his announcement. “Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there. Sally showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I look forward to welcoming her family to the White House as we celebrate her life and legacy.”

The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor the nation can bestow on a civilian. The president will present the award at a White House ceremony later this year.