Katherine Johnson, the NASA space scientist and mathematician who’s calculations helped send astronauts into space, passed away of natural causes at age 101.
Johnson’s groundbreaking career played a key role in the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.
The space pioneer’s death was announced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Monday, Feb. 24.
“We’re saddened by the passing of celebrated #HiddenFigures mathematician Katherine Johnson,” the statement read. “Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers.”
Actress Taraji P. Henson penned a heartfelt tribute to the NASA scientist she portrayed in the Oscar nominated 2016 movie Hidden Figures.
Henson, 49, took to Instagram on Monday to share an image of Johnson alongside a touching dedication.
“Thank you QUEEN #KatherineJohnson for sharing your intelligence, poise, grace and beauty with the world!” she wrote.
“Because of your hard work little girls EVERYWHERE can dream as big as the MOON!!! Your legacy will live on FORVER AND EVER!!! You ran so we could fly!!! I will forever be honored to have been a part of bringing your story to life.
“You/your story was hidden and thank GOD you are #hiddennomore God bless your beautiful family. I am so honored to have sat and broke bread with you all. My thoughts and prayers are with you! #RIHKatherineJohnson #representationmatters.”