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Columbus -- State officials are mourning the passing of astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn, praising his public service, his longtime marriage to his wife, Annie, and the example he set for others in his home state and nation.
Glenn died Thursday at the age of 95 following an undisclosed illness.
Gov. John Kasich said in a released statement that Glenn was "Ohio's ultimate hometown hero."
"As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation," he said. "Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots."
Attorney General Mike DeWine recounted sitting in his high school science class, watching as Glenn became the first American to orbit the planet.
"That day, he captured the hearts of Americans and guaranteed his place in the history of this country and in the history of the world," he said in a released statement.
DeWine ran unsuccessfully against Glenn for the U.S. Senate, then later served alongside him in the after winning Ohio's other Senate seat.
"No matter where he travelled in the United States, across the world, or even into outer space, Sen. Glenn was always proud to call New Concord, Ohio, home," DeWine said. "He met the love of his life, Annie, there in New Concord when they were toddlers. Their 73-year marriage is an inspiration to us all."
Secretary of State Jon Husted said Glenn was "an Ohio-made American hero and a global inspiration."
Husted added in a statement, "He left a legacy of greatness that goes beyond his status as the first American to orbit the earth; he was a dedicated marine, a strong statesman, and a devoted husband and father."
Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) asked for a moment of silence on the floor of the Ohio Senate Thursday after news of his death began to spread.
Lawmakers earlier this year renamed the Port Columbus International Airport as the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
"His service forever shaped America, forever shaped Ohio and pushed us forward," Faber said. "We will mourn his loss, honor his legacy and forever remember the words that sent him on his next mission toward the heavens -- Godspeed, John Glenn."
House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) called Glenn a "hero of mine, a mentor in my life and a man whom I look up to for not only his admirable career, but his steady morals, unmatchable character and his love of family."
He added in a released statement, "I've spent a lot of time with John and Annie, and my thoughts and my sincere prayers are with her and the rest of their wonderful family during this very difficult time. Today, we have lost a great man who has left a truly lasting, impactful legacy on this state, the nation and the entire world."
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement that knowing Glenn was "one of the great blessings of my life."
"What made John Glenn a great senator was the same quality that made him a great astronaut and an iconic American hero: He saw enormous untapped potential in the nation he loved and he had faith that America could overcome any challenge," Brown said. "John's kindness, his intelligence, his courage and his commitment to service set an example that our country needs today more than ever.
"John's legacy will live on in the pages of the history books and the hearts of everyone who knew and loved him."
Republican Sen. Rob Portman offered similar sentiments in a statement.
"John Glenn was an American hero," he said. "He flew 149 combat missions in two wars; he was the first American to orbit the Earth, and the longest-serving United States Senator in Ohio history. I'm grateful to have known him, to have partnered with him on projects and legislation in Congress, and to have worked with him and served on his advisory board at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University. Most recently, I called him to ask him to join me at my swearing in in January for the seat he once held. When I saw Sen. Glenn in October at the Glenn School board meeting he was in good humor, gracious and determined to contribute to Ohio, as always. John and Annie's marriage and their seven decades of partnership have been a model for Jane and me, and we send our condolences to our friend Annie and all the Glenn family at this difficult time."
Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni said in a statement that Glenn "did it all. John Glenn was fearless. His resume of groundbreaking achievements spans three quarters of a century. Americans may not know that John Glenn requested and flew 59 combat missions in World War II, and 63 more in the Korean War. They may not know he set the 1957 speed record, flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes."
He added, " Our nation celebrates John Glenn as the first American to orbit the Earth. They remember him as a great senator from the state of Ohio, who fought tirelessly for the people of our state. Never satisfied, Sen. Glenn also later became the oldest person to go into space."
Ohio State University houses the John Glenn College of Public Affair and the John Glenn Institute of Public Service and Public Policy.
OSU President Michael V. Drake offered in a released statement, "Sen. Glenn was a decorated U.S. Marine aviator, legendary NASA astronaut, tireless public servant, and an unparalleled supporter of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State, where he served actively as an adjunct professor until just recently. He was an authentic hero whose courage, integrity, sacrifice and achievements inspired people, young and old, around the world."
He added, "Most importantly, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He and his wife, Annie, have been the definition of model citizens. Meeting them was among life's greatest privileges. Spending time with them was a blessing."
Memorial services for Glenn are being planned.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.