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.
We%27re ready to go to Antarctica! May be our last opportunity to tweet for a few days! We%27re go for departure to the launchpad! pic.twitter.com/vFvsu6OQhb— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) November 29, 2016
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.