I read a few days ago that he'd been hospitalized, and I knew he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. But even though he was 83, the thought that we might lose such an iconic and beloved public figure never really crossed my mind. It's easy to take for granted how fleeting life is, and just how vulnerable we really are.
With the news of his death today, I thought of his last line in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek, in which his on-screen words seemed to reflect an off-screen passing of the torch to a new generation of explorers:
Since my customary farewell would appear oddly self-serving, I shall simply say... good luck.