Astronaut Ken Mattingly dies; helped save the crew of Apollo 13

Apollo astronaut Thomas Kenneth Mattingly II, known for helping the crew of Apollo 13 safely return to Earth after an explosion doomed their lunar mission, has died at the age of 87, NASA announced.

“Mattingly was key to the success of our Apollo Program, and his shining personality will ensure he is remembered throughout history,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement, calling Mattingly “one of our country’s heroes.”

Mattingly died Tuesday, the statement said. A cause of death wasn’t provided.

Born in Chicago on March 17, 1936, Mattingly would go on to graduate high school in Miami and earn a degree in aeronautical engineering from Auburn University in 1958, according to his NASA biography.

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