Valentina Gagarina, wife of first man in space Yuri Gagarin, has passed away at the age of 84, Russia’s Cosmonaut Training Center has confirmed.
A source at the Star City mission control center outside Moscow said that Gagarina had suffered a massive stroke about a month ago, and that she had undergone an operation to remove a blood clot.
The Cosmonaut Training Center did not specify when or where her funeral would take place.
Yuri Gagarin met Valentina (nee Goryacheva) as a cadet in flight school in 1957 at the May Day celebrations in Moscow. They married six months later. A medical technician by trade, Valentina was a graduate of Orenburg Medical School. The couple had two daughters, Yelena and Galina.
After Yuri’s death in a flight training accident in 1968, Gagarina worked as a biochemist at Star City. In 1981, she penned a memoir about her husband entitled “108 Minutes and a Lifetime.” An intensely private person, Gagarina did not give interviews to the media following her husband’s death.
Ahead of his acclaimed April 12, 1961 spaceflight, Gagarin penned a farewell letter to Valentina, just in case he did not make it back. Valentina received the letter in 1968, after his death.
Valentina Gagarina never remarried.