NPR reported that Ebeling felt guilty most of his life following the Challenger explosion but as he got older and his health declined, he thanked those who told him he did not have to bear the burden of the explosion.
"You helped bring my worrisome mind to ease," Ebeling said. "You have to have an end to everything."
NASA also released a statement that acknowledged his efforts, saying that the Challenger explosion was a reminder "to remain vigilant and to listen to those like Mr. Ebeling who have the courage to speak up."
Ebeling's daughter, Kathy, said her father died after a long illness in Brigham City, Utah.
The illness was not disclosed.
Eberling is survived by his wife, his wife Darlene, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.