01/11/2014 11:02 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Obama Reacts To Death Of Ariel Sharon, Former Israeli Prime Minister

President Barack Obama sent his "deepest condolences" Saturday to family members and the people of Israel on the loss of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Sharon died Saturday at age 85, eight years after a stroke left him in a coma from which he never awoke.

Below, Obama's full statement, as released by the White House:

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel. We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples. We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country.

UPDATE (12:30 p.m. ET): Vice President Joe Biden also released a statement on Sharon's passing. Biden will lead the U.S. delegation for the former Israeli prime minister's memorial service.

Jill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Ariel Sharon. We send our condolences to his family and to his beloved nation of Israel. I look forward to leading the U.S. delegation to his memorial service, to pay respects to the man and to pay tribute to the unshakeable partnership between the United States and Israel.

For more on Sharon's life and career, click here.



Ariel Sharon