Sir Edmund HillaryMountain Climber
Born: 20 July 1919
Died: 11 January 2008 (heart failure)
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Best known as: The first man to climb Mount Everest
Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay were the first humans to reach Earth's highest point: the summit of Mount Everest in the Himalayas. They reached the top at 11:30 am on 29 May 1953. Hillary was promptly knighted for his feat and in later years led expeditions to the South Pole and to the source of the Yangtze River. He also committed himself to humanitarian work among the Sherpas through his charity, the Himalayan Trust. His books include the Everest memoir High Adventure (1955) and his autobiography Nothing Venture, Nothing Win (1975).
Extra credit: Hillary's face is on the front of the New Zealand five-pound note... He was made an honorary citizen of Nepal in 2003... His first wife and their youngest daughter were killed in a plane crash in Nepal in 1975... Hillary's son Peter is also a climber. Peter reached the summit of Everest in 1990, making them the first father and son to reach the top... News of Hillary's success reached Britain on 2 June, the day of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II... After his death, Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand called Hillary "the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived."
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