Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was recovering from heart surgery, days after his 82nd birthday. It wasn’t clear where the surgery occurred or where Armstrong was recuperating.

A NASA spokesman who talked to Neil Armstrong’s wife, Carol, said yesterday that the former astronaut was recovering. His birthday was on Sunday.

A Facebook statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden wished Neil Armstrong a quick recovery from cardiac bypass surgery.

“Neil Armstrong’s pioneering spirit will surely serve him well in this challenging time and the entire NASA Family is holding the Armstrong family in our thoughts and prayers,” the statement said.

Neil Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and he radioed back to Earth the historic news of “one giant leap for mankind.” He spent nearly three hours walking on the moon with fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

A message yesterday on Edwin Aldrin’s Twitter account also wished Neil Armstrong well.

Neil Armstrong and his wife married in 1999 and made their home in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill, but he has largely stayed out of public view in recent years.

He spoke at Ohio State University during a February event honouring fellow astronaut John Glenn and the 50th anniversary of John Glenn becoming the first American to orbit the Earth.

In May, Neil Armstrong joined Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida to support the opening of The National Flight Academy, which aims to teach math and science to kids through an aviation-oriented camp.