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Fossett in 2004

James Stephen Fossett (April 22, 1944 – September 3, 2007) was an American businessman and a record-setting aviator, sailor and adventurer. In 2002, he became the first balloonist to circumnavigate the world alone. In 2005, he completed the first nonstop global flight in an airplane by himself. He was also known for his friendship with billionaire Richard Branson. Branson's Virgin Group sponsored some of Fossett's adventures.

Fossett was born in Jackson, Tennessee. He grew up in Garden Grove, California. He attended Washington University in St. Louis and Stanford University. In 1968, Fossett married Peggy Fossett (née Viehland), originally from Richmond Heights, Missouri. The couple had homes in Beaver Creek, Colorado, Chicago, Illinois and Carmel, California.

On September 3, 2007, Fossett went missing while flying a light aircraft over the Great Basin Desert. A year later, in September 2008, a hiker found some of Fossett's belongings in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, California. This lead to the discovery of his aircraft and some of his remains.

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