Glen de Vries, the businessman who joined actor William Shatner in space on October 13, 2021, has died in a light aircraft crash in the United States. 

De Vries, 49, was in a Cessna 172 with Thomas Fischer, a flight instructor, when the plane crashed in a heavily wooded area on November 11, 2021 near Hampton Township in New Jersey. Both occupants of the plane were killed. 

“We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries,” Blue Origin said on social media on November 12, 2021. “He brought so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and to his fellow crewmates. His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it was investigating the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration described the circumstances of the crash as “unknown” and said the aircraft was destroyed in the accident.  

De Vries was a private pilot and founder of Medidata and had paid for his ride aboard Blue Origin’s second crewed mission. The mission lasted just under 11 minutes. 

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Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, paid tribute to De Vries on Twitter, describing him as a visionary and innovator.

Bezos wrote: “Such a tragic loss. Warm and full of life, Glen made us laugh and lit up the room. He was a visionary, and an innovator – a true leader. Lauren and I are heartbroken and will remember the precious time we got to spend together. Our deepest sympathies are with his partner, Leah, and all his loved ones. The world lost you too soon, Glen.”