His decision in 1981 to give up his NASA career to become a full-time artist surprised some of his colleagues. "I'd say 60 percent of them thought maybe I was having a midlife crisis", Mr. Bean recalled in his book "Apollo" (1998), written with Andrew Chaikin, in which he reproduced many of his paintings.
Twelve astronauts ultimately walked on the moon in six Apollo missions.
Mr Bean was born in 1932 in Wheeler, Texas, receiving a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering in 1955 and moving on to the Navy Test Pilot School.
Said Bridenstine: "After logging 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space, Alan passed the baton to the next generation of astronauts and changed fronts, looking to push the boundaries of his own imagination and ability as an artist".
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Working from his home in Houston, Mr. Bean strove for accuracy in presenting the astronauts' gear and the prevailing light, but his paintings often conveyed a sense of what it was like to work on the moon rather than replicating an exact moment.
Many fellow space explorers posted tributes to Bean on Twitter. "I mean, can you think of anything better?"
"I think of myself not as an astronaut who paints", he added, "but as an artist who was once an astronaut". "Fair winds and following seas, Captain", Kelly tweeted.
US astronaut Karen Nyberg called Bean a kind, gracious and humble man and a true role model. "Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger".
She wrote that he was her "hero" and she felt "fortunate to have met him".
Bean's wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in a statement that Bean died peacefully at Houston Methodist Memorial Hospital surrounded by those who loved him.
In 1994 Bean told The New York Times the otherworldly perspectives he got in space inspired him to devote the latter half of his life to art, to the surprise of many of his colleagues.
In addition to his wife, Leslie, Alan Bean is survived by a sister, Paula Stott; and two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue Bean and Clay Bean.