George Mendonsa, the United States sailor who became famous after being photographed celebrating the end of World War II by bending over and kissing 21-year-old Greta Zimmer Friedman on VJ Day (Victory over Japan) in New York's Times Square, has died aged 95.
He was 95 when he died February 17, two days before his birthday, at an assisted-living facility in Newport, R.I. Mr. Mendonsa suffered from congestive heart failure and had suffered a fall and seizure, said his friend Jerry O'Donnell.
Mendonsa was shown kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse's uniform, on August 14, 1945.
The man behind one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century has died at the age of 95. The photographer did not give the names of the kissing strangers so it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman, who died in 2016 aged 92, were confirmed as the featured couple. He died two days before his 96th birthday.
Mendonsa, who was positively identified with facial recognition technology for the 2012 book, was living in an assisted living facility in Middletown, R.I., and had congestive heart failure.
"I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this vice grip", Friedman said.
Ms Friedman, who had been working as a dental assistant, said she had not been aware of the photo until the 1960s.
George Mendonsa holds a copy of the famous Alfred Eisenstadt photo, in 2009.
During the war, Mendonsa served on a destroyer, the AP reported, which is a long-endurance warship used to escort larger vessels in the fleet and defend them against attackers.
When he was honored at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa spoke about the famous kiss.
Mr. Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, and within a year he was cruising the Pacific on the Sullivans, participating in battles such as the invasion of Iwo Jima.
Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple. "So when I saw the nurse I grabbed her, and I kissed her". Although the moment was undeniably one of celebration, she added, "It wasn't my choice to be kissed. I believe if that girl did not have a nurse's uniform on, that I never would have grabbed her". "It wasn't a romantic event".
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