World's media honours Hillary

By Matt Greenop

Media across the globe reacted swifty and respectfully to the news of the death of Sir Edmund Hillary.

The legendary adventurer's death knocked the American elections from the top of Google News, the world's biggest search engine's news site, which says nearly 1,000 websites are carrying articles on Hillary.

A New York Times tribute to Sir Edmund was leading the Google worldwide site.

"Sir Edmund Hillary, the lanky New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who with Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa guide, won worldwide acclaim in 1953 by becoming the first to scale the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak, has died," it reads.

"In the annals of great heroic exploits, the conquest of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund and Mr. Norgay ranks with the first trek to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen in 1911 and the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight by Charles A. Lindbergh in 1927."

Looking at how the world's media are treating the loss of a truly great New Zealand shows that while many focus on conquering Everest, many pay tribute to Hillary as the widely respected man he was.

One Australian News site quotes acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard describing Sir Edmund as a "giant of New Zealand", acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said today.

Australia's ABC News is running Sir Edmund's death as its lead story: New Zealand climber Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest, has died at the age of 88, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has announced.

The cause of Sir Edmund's death was not announced, but he had been ill for some time and New Zealand media is reporting that he had been suffering pneumonia.

The Daily Telegraph, in a fitting tribute that lauded Hillary's massive humanitarian efforts, described the man as the colossus of Everest:

"Despite conquering Everest and winning international renown as one of the 20th century's greatest adventurers, Sir Edmund Hillary, who died last night, remained humble to the end," it reported.

"The mountaineer, known to friends and family simply as Ed, said he wished to be remembered mostly for his humanitarian work."

Britain's Times newspaper said: "Sir Edmund Hillary, the unassuming beekeeper who was catapulted into the history books when he became the first man to climb Everest, died last night at the age of 88.

"Sir Edmund, who conquered the world's highest mountain in 1953, had been suffering health problems since April after he suffered a fall whilst in Nepal."

The Times is also running Sir Edmund's comments after first conquering Everest in 1953 and reflects on its coverage of the ascent.


Bloomberg: Edmund Hillary, the New Zealand-born adventurer who defied the failed efforts of countless climbers by reaching the peak of Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain, has died. He was 88.

Hillary's death "is a profound loss for New Zealand", Prime Minister Helen Clark said in a statement today.

BBC:Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb the world's highest mountain Mount Everest has died aged 88.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark described the explorer as a heroic figure and said all New Zealanders would deeply mourn his passing.

Sir Edmund's health had reportedly been in decline since April, when he suffered a fall while visiting Nepal.

Read the BBC's obituary.

The youngest member of the 1953 expedition was George Band who was then 24. He told BBC Radio Five Live that Sir Edmund was a "tough, lean, six-footer".

"When he wasn't rushing up and down the icefall he liked to lie in what we called the 'Everest position', which was just lying flat out, relaxing on your bed," Mr Band said.

Actor and adventurer Brian Blessed has attempted Everest three times and described Sir Edmund as a "kind of titan".

He told BBC News 24: "Hillary was a kind of titan, a man of extraordinary strength, great constitution, and brilliant that it should be a Sherpa alongside him, Tenzing, much loved by people.

But that achievement, then, in those early days, with very primitive oxygen equipment that could break down at any minute was just a colossal achievement, and incredibly sad...one always thought he was indestructible."

Adventurer and explorer Jock Wishart told the BBC that Sir Edmund was a modest man.

"I met him once, and you know, he was modest, he was the first to acknowledge others; in later life I know he unveiled a statue to Tenzing, and of course when he was talking about Tenzing, he said that Tenzing was the real hero, and that really was the quality of the man," Mr Band said.

AOL Sports: Sir Edmund Hillary, conquerer of Mount Everest and one of history's greatest sportsmen, has died at the age of 88.

A native of New Zealand, Hillary achieved international fame at age 35 when, on May 29, 1953, he and Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to reach the world's highest peak.

FijiVillage: The first man to scale Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary has died aged 88.

Regarded by many as one of the greatest New Zealanders in the country's history, he shot to international stardom when he climbed Mount Everest in 1953.

An interesting note is that Sir Edmund Hillary was defeated in his first attempt to climb Joske's Thumb in Fiji and of course he later went on to scale the world's highest mountain, Everest. Sir Edmund did return to Fiji, however, and managed to conquer the Thumb many years later.

Time Magazine: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stood on top of the world. Around them spread the snow-covered ridges and peaks of the Himalayas: frozen crests of huge, earth-driven waves. Far below chasms and streams wound like muddy veins, cut occasionally by ice blue glaciers. In the east hulked Lhotse, Makalu and the formidable Kangchenjunga. To the west was Cho Oyu and a rumpled horizon of unexplored ranges.

Atop Everest, the highest of them all, a crisp wind blew. Hillary pulled out his camera and snapped Tenzing holding aloft his ice ax strung with the flags of Britain, India, Nepal and the United Nations. Tenzing dug a hollow in the snow and filled it with Buddhist offerings: a few lollies, a chocolate bar and some biscuits. Hillary dug a second hole and buried a crucifix. The two nibbled on some mint cake and, aware that their oxygen supplies were limited, began their descent 15 minutes after reaching their goal.

Press Association: Photographer Greg Gregory, who accompanied Sir Edmund on the Everest expedition, described him as a "top character".

Speaking from Australia, the 90 year-old Mr Gregory told the Press Association in Britain: "He was a member of the team like everybody else and nobody knew until quite late on, when John Hunt, who was the leader of the summit expedition, decided who was going up there, that he would be the first," Mr Gregory said.

British adventurer and environmentalist Pen Hadow told the Press Association that Sir Edmund's death "closes one of the great chapters of planetary exploration".

"He was physically and metaphorically at the pinnacle of high adventure," the Dartmoor-based Arctic and Antarctic explorer said.

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