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Buzz Aldrin Evacuated from Antarctica Due to Health Concerns

July 1969: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera.

Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to walk on the moon, had to be evacuated from the South Pole Thursday after apparently falling ill.

The National Science Foundation agreed to evacuate Aldrin, 86, from its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica to a medical facility in New Zealand, the U.S. government agency said in a statement.

The NSF sent a cargo plane to retrieve Aldrin, who had been visiting Antarctica as a tourist, after receiving a request from White Desert, the tour company that brought Aldrin to the South Pole.

In a statement on its website, White Desert said Aldrin’s “condition deteriorated” while he was in Antarctica and the company asked to have him evacuated “as a precaution” after a discussion with doctors.

“His condition was described as stable upon White Desert doctor's handover to the [U.S. Antarctic Program] medical team,” the statement said.

Aldrin gained fame in 1969 when he became the second man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 crew.