Denise Warner
July 23, 2012 AT 09:58 PM EDT

Astronaut Sally Ride has died of pancreatic cancer, according to a statement on her website. She was 61.

“Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless,” the statement read. “Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.”

President Obama commented on her passing. “As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. 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. Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come,” he said.

She is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, as well as her mother, sister, niece and nephew.

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