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Apollo 13 star Tom Hanks leads tributes to astronaut Sally Ride

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Jul 24, 2012 | 5:00am EDT

The 61 year old, who was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger's 1983 mission into space, passed away after losing a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Apollo 13 star Hanks took to his Twitter.com page after learning of her death and declared, "God Speed, Sally Ride. She aimed for the stars. Let's all do the same."

Matlin ?added, "RIP Sally Ride, America's first woman in space. A pioneer and who set the stage for anyone who dreams to reach the stars."

Buzz Aldrin also paid tribute to his pal Ride, telling his followers, "So sorry to hear of the loss of my friend and fellow astronaut Sally Ride. You will always be an inspiration for women and space."

U.S. President Barack Obama also released a tribute in honour of Ride. It read, "(First Lady) Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sally Ride. As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model.

"She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools. Sally's life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sally's family and friends."

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