George Mendonsa captured the hearts of a nation when he was caught on camera kissing a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II.
Mendonsa died Sunday just two days before his 96th birthday.
In reference to the famous photograph, he said he was on leave when he heard the war was over and just happened to see the woman in white, grabbed her and kissed her. He reportedly said the woman symbolized the nurses he saw helping sailors he had helped rescue.
As soon as the kiss was over the two went their separate ways.
For 74 years, Mendonsa maintained he was the sailor in the photo but his claims have only recently been verified by technology.
He left behind his wife of more than 70 years, a daughter and son.