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WASHINGTON (AP) Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, has died.
She was 61.
NASA confirmed her death this afternoon. Her office said she died of pancreatic cancer. Ride traveled into space on the shuttle Challenger in 1983 when she was 32.
President Barack Obama calls her a national hero and a "powerful role model'' who inspired generations of young girls and advocated for a greater focus on science and math in the nation's schools.
Ride was a physicist who, in 1977, applied to NASA to become an astronaut. She was chosen by NASA in 1978, and on June 18, 1983, made her historic flight on the Challenger.