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Mars mission scientist Colin Pillinger, 70, dies in England

Published on May 8, 2014 8:11 PM
Professor Colin Pillinger (right) from the open university and project leader of the Beagle 2 satellite to Mars programme posing with professor David Southwood (left) from the European Space Agency behind a model of the Beagle 2 satellite in London on May 19, 2003. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - British planetary scientist Colin Pillinger, the driving force behind the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission to Mars, died on Thursday at the age of 70, his family said.

The professor, hailed by his colleagues as an inspirational figure with boundless enthusiasm for his subject, suffered a brain haemorrhage on Wednesday.

"It is with profound sadness that we are telling friends and colleagues that Colin, whilst sitting in the garden yesterday afternoon, suffered a severe brain haemorrhage resulting in a deep coma," his family said.

The father of two was taken to a hospital near his home in Cambridge, eastern England, and died peacefully on Thursday afternoon.

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