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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Sally Ride, the first American woman to go to space, died Monday at the age of 61.

Ride, who became a hero to generations of adventurous young girls with her historic flight into space in 1983, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Encino, Ride was also a physicist, science writer and President and CEO of Sally Ride Science.

President Barack Obama released a statement Monday calling Ride a “national hero and a powerful role model.”

President Obama goes on to say, “She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools.”

515020451 Sally Ride, First American Woman To Go To Space, Dies At 61

PHOTO GALLERY: Sally Ride 1951-2012 (credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)


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