Wandering through Technorati while taking a break from studying International Economics I found the Carl Sagan blog-a-thon. Many in my audience will probably not have the slightest idea about who this man who died 10 years ago today was and why is he important, so check out Wikipedia.
In Mexico, where I grew up, I don't think they ever broadcasted the Cosmos PBS series, but I was fortunate enough that my school had bought the tapes (yes, tapes, after all, I was 8 or so at the time). Also at the same age, I received as a birthday present the book "Comet" from a neighbour. It was a present I devoured, and made me realise that science can be as much fun as science fiction (even though later I discovered I don't have the patience to be a scientist myself). During the following years I bought Cosmos, Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Pale Blue Dot and The Demon-Haunted World. I also joined the Planetary Society as a kid, with which my name went to Mars in the Mars Pathfinder (I'm not currently a member, but plan on rejoining). He is one of two persons (the other being Isaac Asimov) that planted firmly in my mind the idea that colonising other planets is what our species needs if it wants to survive (all this before global warming and the terrorist threat became the issues they are now).
He died on December 20th, 1996 after a long battle with mielodysplasia. Even though he didn't believe in God the way I do, my prayers are with him and his family ;-) .