Sir Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Hillary, KG KBE (1919-2008), is credited with the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. He reached the summit, along with his climbing partner, Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, on May 29, 1953. His death in 2008 was due to a heart attack after months of ill health. He received a State Funeral which is usually reserved for heads of state. Sir Edmund Hillary was also the only living person, aside from Queen Victoria, to appear on New Zealand currency. He is found on the New Zealand $5 bill.
Hillary served as New Zealand High Commissioner to India for 4 years. He also established a charitable foundation, the Sir Edmund Hillary Himalayan Trust to help the Sherpa people. The foundation has constructed schools, hospitals, bridges, fresh-water pipelines, airfields and supported and rebuilt Buddhist monasteries.
- Book: Sir Edmund Hillary: To Everest and Beyond, Author: Whitney Stewart
For more information on the geographical area in this article and brief summary of Buddhist religion and comparisons to others.