Sir Patrick Moore, named 'the father of Astronomy' by his friend Brian May (Queen guitarist), has died aged 89. Yesterday, (9th Dec) friends and colleagues said in a statement that he "passed away peacefully" at his home in Sussex.
The self taught astronomer began his career at the age of just 14 having been asked to take over the responsibility of an observatory. Twenty years later in 1957 he began presenting 'The Sky at Night' which he presented monthly until his death, which makes him the longest presenter of a television programme in history. He also fought in WWII, and despite winning the war he lost the one woman he ever had a romance with, stating later that her loss meant that he'd never marry. Telling the Standard in 2007, "There was no one else for me. Second best is no good for me. I would have liked a wife and family, but it was not to be."
As well as his work in television he has an extensive bibliography to his name, largely concerned with the moon which became his speciality.
Since news of his death spread yesterday, there have been numerous tributes to Sir Moore and his great influence over his extensive career. Brian Cox tweeted, "Very sad news about Sir Patrick. Helped inspire my love of astronomy. I will miss him!"
Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP also paid tribute to him saying: "Since I first met Sir Patrick when he dominated a UKIP stage in 1999, he has been a friend and an inspiration - not only to us in UKIP, but across the country and around the world... We have seen the passing of a true great, and a true Englishman."
Brian May left a particularly heartfelt message about Sir Moore, describing him as a 'father figure', and adding: "We all learned astronomy from Patrick Moore, we learned that kind of thirst and joy for knowledge that he had and shared with everybody, the whole of Britain owes its astronomy to Patrick." He said, "He lived and breathed his subject, and he shared it with everyone, he absolutely lived to share his knowledge, his wealth and his time. The most generous man I've ever met I would say."