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Independent Ukraine's First Astronaut Dies At 67

Leonid Kadenyuk was part of the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia's crew on a mission in 1997.

KYIV -- Independent Ukraine's first man in space, Leonid Kadenyuk, has died at the age of 67.

Friends of Kadenyuk's told RFE/RL that he died on January 31 in Kyiv.

A military pilot in the Soviet era, was a member of the crew of the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia on a mission in November-December 1997.

He won a seat in Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in 2002, and was a lawmaker until 2006.

Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman expressed his condolences to Kadenyuk's family and friends in a Facebook post.