Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand's High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal.
Hillary became interested in mountaineering while in secondary school. He made his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier. He served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II and was wounded in an accident. Prior to the Everest expedition, Hillary had been part of the British reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951 as well as an unsuccessful attempt to climb Cho Oyu in 1952.
After climbing with British teams in the Himalayas in 1951 and 1952, Hillary and another New Zealander, George Lowe, were invited to join John Hunt’s 1953 British Everest Expedition. On 29 May – four days before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – the chosen pair, Hillary and the experienced Tenzing, reached the 8848-m summit of Mt Everest via the south-east ridge.
From the moment Hillary told Lowe that they had ‘knocked the bastard off’, his life changed forever. Before the expedition had even emerged from the mountains, Queen Elizabeth bestowed a knighthood on the surprised New Zealander. In Britain, he and Tenzing became the subject of media frenzy. They attended formal events and lectured to packed halls.
As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Beginning in 1960, Hillary devoted himself to assisting the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he established. His efforts are credited with the construction of many schools and hospitals in Nepal. Hillary had numerous honours conferred upon him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995. Upon his death in 2008, he was given a state funeral in New Zealand.
According to Wikipedia & nzhistory.govt.nz