Junko Tabei, first woman to climb Everest, dies at 77

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2005 file photo, Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei looks on during a felicitation ceremony in Katmandu, Nepal.  Tabei died Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016,  of cancer at a hospital outside of Tokyo, according to Japanese media reports. She was 77.  Tabei reached the summit of the world's highest mountain in 1975. In 1992, she also became the first woman to complete the "Seven Summits," reaching the highest peaks of the seven continents. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi)
FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2005 file photo, Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei looks on during a felicitation ceremony in Katmandu, Nepal. Tabei died Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, of cancer at a hospital outside of Tokyo, according to Japanese media reports. She was 77. Tabei reached the summit of the world's highest mountain in 1975. In 1992, she also became the first woman to complete the "Seven Summits," reaching the highest peaks of the seven continents. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi)

TOKYO (AP) — Junko Tabei, the first woman to climb Mount Everest, has died, Japanese media reported. She was 77.

Tabei died Thursday of cancer at a hospital outside of Tokyo, according to the reports.

Tabei reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain in 1975. In 1992, she also became the first woman to complete the “Seven Summits,” reaching the highest peaks of the seven continents.

She gained world fame after Everest, but played it down, telling Sports Illustrated in a 1996 profile: “I was the 36th person to climb Everest.”

Tabei scaled peaks in more than 60 countries, Japan’s Kyodo News agency said.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said she continued climbing even after being diagnosed with cancer four years ago.

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