Chuck Yeager, the first person to break the sound barrier and a subject of the book and film “The Right Stuff,” has died aged 97.
Yeager’s wife, Victoria Yeager, announced his death on Twitter on Monday night.
“It is with profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9 p.m. ET,” she wrote. “An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest pilot and a legacy of strength, adventure and patriotism will be remembered forever.”
Yeager began his career during World War II as a private in the United States Army Air Forces.
After the war, he became a test pilot, flying the experimental Bell X-1 to become the first human to officially break the sound barrier. For this feat, Yeager received both the Collier and Mackay trophies in 1948.
Yeager later commanded fighter squadrons in Germany and Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and was promoted to brigadier general in 1969. Yeager retired on March 1, 1975.
His historic accomplishment made Yeager one of the subjects of “The Right Stuff,” a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe. The book was later adapted into a film in 1983, directed by Philip Kaufman.
“The Right Stuff” follows test pilots who were selected to be astronauts for NASA’s Project Mercury, which was the first human space flight organised by the US.
In the film, Sam Shepard portrays Yeager, and Yeager himself even made a cameo as Fred, a bartender at Pancho’s Palace.
Yeager is survived by Victoria and his four children with first wife Glennis Yeager, who died in 1990.