Patrick Moore, British Astronomer, Dead At 89

Patrick Moore, a British astronomer who helped map the moon and hosted the BBC show The Sky at Night for decades, has passed away at the age of 89.

Moore presented the program for more than 50 years, making him the longest-running presenter of a single show in broadcasting history, reports Reuters UK. The show endeared Moore to audiences, and popularized astronomy in Britain. Moore also inspired future astronomers, like British astronomer David Whitehouse, to pay tribute to him.

“Patrick would just sit in front of the camera for a whole episode … and just tell you about a constellation, about the stars, their names, their history,” Whitehouse said. “It was captivating and the best example of communication and an expert sharing his enthusiasm that I have ever experienced.”

He died at his home in the coastal town of Selsey in southern England, though no cause of death was given. He had heart problems, and was confined to a wheelchair, reports ABC News. He was hospitalized last week, but after it was determined that no intervention would help him, his wish to spend his final days in his home was honored.

“Over the past few years, Patrick, an inspiration to generations of astronomers, fought his way back from many serious spells of illness and continued to work and write at a great rate, but this time his body was too weak to overcome the infection which set in a few weeks ago,” said a statement regarding Moore’s death released Sunday.

Queen guitarist Brian May was also a huge fan of Moore’s, calling him irreplaceable and inspirational.

“Patrick will be mourned by the many to whom he was a caring uncle, and by all who loved the delightful wit and clarity of his writings, or enjoyed his fearlessly eccentric persona in public life,” May said.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Patrick Moore, who was truly a treasure.