The U.S. Navy sailor pictured in an iconic kiss during a celebration commemorating the end of World War II has died at the age of 95.
George Mendonsa died on Sunday after suffering from congestive heart failure at an assisted living facility in Middletown, R.I., his daughter, Sharon Molleur, told NBC News.
Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured an intimate moment between Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman on April 14, 1945, the day Japan surrendered to the U.S., during a Times Square event celebrating World War II’s conclusion.
The photo, published in Life magazine as a scene from “V-J Day in Times Square,” has since become one of the most famous photographs of American history.
NBC News noted that Mendonsa maintained for years that he was the sailor in the iconic photo. Lawrence Verria and George Galdorisi were able to verify the retired fisherman’s presence in the photo using facial recognition technology, according to NBC News.
Mendonsa told the authors that the announcement that World War II was over came as he was on leave in New York. He said that he was so overcome with emotion that he grabbed a young nurse and kissed her, NBC News noted.
Like Mendonsa, it was unclear for years that Friedman was the young nurse in the photo. Friedman died in 2016 at age 92.
“He was very proud of his service and the picture and what it stood for,” Molleur said. “Always, for many, many years later, it was an important part of his life.”