Sir Edumnd Hillary Dies at 88

Sir Edmund Hillary (b 20 July 1919) died in New Zealand today at the age of 88. He had been in decline since a fall in Nepal.

While Sir Edmund ( a New Zealander) was most known for being the first known person (along with his Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay) to have reached the peak of Mount Everest in 1953, he was also well known for being a humanitarian for the people of Nepal. He helped raise money and attention for the plight of these people. He started the Himalayan Trust in the early 1960s and helped build hospitals, schools, pipelines and airfields. He encouraged other mountaineers to look after Mount Everest’s environment, and to be aware of the Nepalese people.

Afer Everest, he climbed ten other peaks in the Himalayas on further visits in 1956, 1960-61 and 1963-65. He also reached the South Pole as part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, for which he led the New Zealand section, on 4 January 1958. He led a jetboat expedition, titled “Ocean to Sky”, from the mouth of the Ganges River to its source in 1977. In 1979, he was scheduled to act as a commentator on the ill-fated Air New Zealand Flight 901, an Antarctic sightseeing flight, but had to pull out due to work commitments elsewhere. He was replaced by his close friend Peter Mulgrew, who perished as the flight crashed on Mount Erebus.

He had suffered personal tragedy in 1975 when his first wife, Louise and his child, Belinda were killed while on route to join him in Nepal , in a plane crash.

He is survived by his second wife, June, two children and six great grand children.

He was a legend in New Zealand (and throughout the world). He was one tough bugger.

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One Response

  1. He was indeed. His humanitarianism was a great example to us all. I’m intrigued to see what actions the NZ government will take to commemorate his life.

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