Alexei Leonov, the legendary Soviet cosmonaut who became the first human to walk in space 54 years ago - and who almost didn't make it back into his space capsule - has died in Moscow at 85.
Russian space agency Roscosmos made the announced on its website on Friday, without providing a cause for his death.
The Russian cosmonaut made history in 1965, when he conducted the first-ever space walk while on the Voskhod-2 mission.
He spent 12 minutes outside the craft on the Voskhod 2 mission.
Commander of the Soviet crew of Soyuz, Alexei Leonov (L) and commander of the American crew of Apollo, Thomas Stafford (R), shake hands 17 July 1975 in the space, somewhere over Western Germany, after the Apollo-Soyuz docking maneuvers.
"This is a loss for the whole planet", said Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.
It was the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States, carried out at the height of the Cold War, and was a prelude to the worldwide co-operation seen aboard the current space station. "Putin always admired Leonov's courage". "Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov, artist, leader, spacewalker and friend, I salute you".
At the news of his death, tributes poured in from space organisations around the world, with NASA saying "his venture into the vacuum of space began the history of extravehicular activity that makes today's Space Station maintenance possible".
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