Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the two men to first conquer Mount Everest, has died. The 88-year-old New Zealander, who had been ill for some time, passed away in a hospital in Auckland, his home city. It was in 1953 that Hillary, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, achieved what many others had died trying to do.
Leaders of the expedition chose the pair to make the final assault on the world’s highest peak, judging them to be the fittest for the task.
Hillary said some experts believed it couldn’t be done: “All the physiologists had warned us that it might not be possible, that we might reach the summit even with oxygen and collapse and die. And so we had to overcome the psychological barrier, and by overcoming that barrier we really made it a great deal easier.”
Hillary undertook several other extremely challenging expeditions. But he will also be remembered as a great philanthropist. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark described him as the “quintessential Kiwi.”