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Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon and an accomplished artist, died Saturday at age 86.

His next space flight came in July 1973 as a commander of the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab.

He spent 31 hours on the moon during two moonwalks, deploying surface experiments with commander Charles Conrad and collecting 75 pounds of rocks and lunar soil for study back on Earth.

His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in the statement he died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him.

In 1998 NASA oral history, Bean recalled his excitement at preparing to fly to the moon.

Retired Astronaut Alan Bean, 66, poses for a portrait in his spacesuit at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, U.S., in this undated photo.

Alan LaVern Bean was born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, but grew up in Fort Worth.

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"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's attractive.' Then I said to myself, 'Quit screwing off and go collect rocks.' We figured reflection wasn't productive", Alan Bean was quoted as saying by People magazine in 1981.

"Alan and I have been best friends for 55 years - ever since the day we became astronauts", said Walt Cunningham, a Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 7 mission.

Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career. I am so grateful he was my mentor and friend, and I will miss him terribly.

"I just say it how I think it, even though other people will say, 'That's weird, ' because it's from the other side of the brain", he said.

Mr. Bean later commanded the second of three flights to the Skylab orbiting laboratory, working with Jack R. Lousma of the Marine Corps and Owen K. Garriott, a scientist-astronaut, on a mission that studied Earth's makeup and the sun's atmosphere. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust.

Alan Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, a sister and two children from a previous marriage.


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