Edmund was born to Percival Augustus and Gertrude Hillary in Auckland, New Zealand. Edmund began climbing mountains for fun, reaching the top of Mount Cook, New Zealand's tallest mountain. When Edmund wanted to climd Mt. Everest he was able to find an approved British expedition as Nepal only allowed one a year, and China controlled Tibet had closed their side. He and Tenzing Norgay, a sherpa, reached the top at 11:30, after climbing the last rock face known later as the Hillary Step. When they returned to London, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Edmund. Sir Edmund climbed several other mountains and rock faces and gained public appraisal for his many expeditions. On January 11th, 2008, Sir Edmund died of heart failure in Auckland. His ashes were scattered in the Hauraki Gulf.