A Chicago judge declared adventurer Steve Fossett dead five months after he disappeared during a short flight in Nevada.

Judge Jeffrey A. Malak of the Circuit Court of Cook County made the declaration that Fossett was legally dead. Peggy V. Fossett, his wife requested the declaration in a step toward resolving the status of his estate, her attorney, Michael LoVallo said, according to the Associated Press.

Fossett, a millionaire entrepreneur, was taking a pleasure flight in September and was expected to return within two or three hours.

Judge Malak made the decision after hearing from Peggy Fossett, a family friend and a search and rescue expert.

Fossett gained fame for his attempts to set records in various vehicles. In 2002, Fossett became the first person to make a nonstop flight around the world in a hot air balloon. It took him two weeks. He also was the first person to fly a plane alone around the world without stopping.

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