Sir Edmund Hillary, First Man Atop Mount Everest, Dies

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The man who conquered Mount Everest — but still insisted on being called just “Ed” — has died.

Sir Edmund Hillary was 88. New Zealand’s prime minister announced the death today, saying Hillary was “the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived.”

Hillary and his Nepalese mountain guide, Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. Hillary says they snapped pictures as proof of their achievement before descending the slopes.

Back at base camp, Hillary famously declared: “We knocked the bastard off.”

Until Norgay’s death in 1986, Hillary refused to confirm that he was first, saying they’d reached the top as a team.

After Everest, Hillary pioneered a new route to the South Pole.

And despite his achievements, he described himself as an ordinary beekeeper.