Barbara Hillary, the pioneering African American explorer, died Saturday at the age of 88.
The tragic news was announced on Hillary's official website and Twitter account:
Hillary made history at the age of 75 when she became not only the oldest person to ever reach the North Pole, but the first African American woman on record to accomplish the feat. About four years later, she decided to embark on another historic adventure, and became the first black woman to also step foot on the South Pole. Impressive, no doubt, but Hillary's accomplishments went far beyond travel and exploration. She was also a community activist, a nurse, the editor in chief of the nonprofit publication The Peninsula Magazine, as well as a breast cancer and lung cancer survivor.
"There were still so many things she wanted to do," her friend Deborah Bogosian told 1010 WINS. "... Everything about her was fascinating, convention-breaking, and confounding. Her record-setting treks, her defeat over cancer, her arduous fight to get her house back after Hurricane Sandy. Her years as a nurse, her gigs as a taxi driver and in sundry other jobs that gave her more than a few stories to tell. Her appreciation for archery, guns and knives, big trucks and big dogs. The roses and miraculous tomatoes she grew."
In the days since Hillary's death was confirmed, people from across the country have taken to social media to mourn the loss and honor her legacy. You can read some of the messages below.