**Tokyo: ** The first woman to ascend Mount Everest in 1975 has died at the age of 77, a Japanese media reported on Sunday.
Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei died of cancer on Thursday at a hospital in Saitama prefecture. Her family made the news public only over the weekend, Efe news reported.
The climber, born in 1939, conquered the world’s highest peak that towers a colossal 8,848 meters on May 16, 1975 when she was 35.
In 1992, she also became the first woman to climb all “Seven Summits,” a grouping of the highest peak on each continent.
A graduate in English literature from Showa Women’s University, Tabei also founded the “Ladies Climbing Club: Japan” in 1969.
During her lifetime, Tabei scaled summits in over 60 countries and continued to travel abroad five to six times a year, to pursue her passion even after she turned 70.
Author of several books – including an autobiography where she called herself a housewife who climbs mountains – the climber was awarded the “Mountain Hero Award” by the Mountain Institute in Washington in 2008.