.S. space pioneer Wally Schirra, who helped lead America into the space age as one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, has died at the age of 84, NASA said on Thursday.
Schirra had a heart attack and died early on Thursday at a hospital near his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, said Ruth Varonfakis, a friend and spokeswoman for the San Diego Air & Space Museum, where Schirra was on the board.
She said he had cancer, but that his family asked her not to discuss it. NASA said he had died on Wednesday night.
Space pioneer Wally Schirra dies at 84