Wellington, January 18 : Sir Edmund Hillary was revered as a "white giant" by young Sherpas growing up in the shadow of Mount Everest, says the nephew of the sole remaining Sherpa from the successful 1953 expedition.
Ninty-one-year-old Gyalzen Sherpa is the only remaining sherpa from the expedition, who currently lives in the Nepalese village of Namche Bazaar.
His nephew Tashi Sherpa revealed that he wanted Sherpa Tenzing Norgay to be hailed as the sole conqueror of the world's highest peak as a child.
However, after hearing about Hillary's greatness from his own mother, Tashi started to like him.
"I asked (my mother) about Hillary and she admonished me gently ... that he was kind and unassuming and a great friend of the sherpas," stuff.co.nz quoted him as telling The Dominion Post.
Tashi Sherpa, who viewed Tenzing as an uncle figure, recalled how he became "nervous" and "chickened out" when his mother announced one morning in 1967 that Tenzing and Hillary would be dropping by for afternoon tea. He was just 11-years-old at that time.
"How I wish I could turn back that clock to just say I shook hands with the greatest sherpa hero that ever walked," he said.
Tashi, who now runs an outdoor clothing business out of Seattle, also revealed that the local Sherpa community would hold a memorial ceremony for Hillary on Saturday.