From AP - News Local/State -

Astronaut, Illinois Native, Steve Nagel Dies After Illness

Astronaut and  University of Illinois graduate Steven Nagel, who died Thursday.

Air Force Col. Steven Nagel joined NASA in 1978 and flew four space shuttle missions, logging more than 700 hours in space. He retired from the space agency in 2011. Nagel died of cancer on Thursday. (NASA)

Steven R. Nagel, a former astronaut and Illinois native who flew on four space shuttle flights, has died in Missouri after a long illness. He was 67.

NASA said in a news release that Nagel died Thursday. Longtime friend Ed Reinholtz said Nagel died of cancer in Columbia, Missouri.

Nagel was a test pilot for the Air Force before becoming an astronaut in 1979.

NASA said he was a mission specialist during a June 1985 Discovery flight and the pilot aboard the Challenger in October 1985. He was commander on his last two missions — an Atlantis flight in April 1991 and a 10-day trip on Columbia in April 1993.

Nagel later worked as deputy director and deputy chief in two separate offices at Houston's Johnson Space Center. He retired from NASA in 2011.

Nagel was a native of Canton, Illinois. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois in 1969, and later earned his Master's at Fresno State in 1978.