(AP) Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died at age 90.

He piloted the ship from which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left to make their historic first steps on the moon in 1969.

Collins' family said in a statement that the astronaut died Wednesday from cancer.

While Collins traveled some 238,000 miles to the moon and came within 69 miles, he never set foot on the surface.

Collins spent the eight-day mission piloting the command module, Columbia.

While Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the moon’s surface in the lunar lander Eagle, Collins remained alone for nearly 28 hours.

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