World leaders have expressed their condolences on the passing of former Philippine president Corazon Aquino, who died early Saturday morning after battling colon cancer for more than a year.
United States President Barack Obama was deeply saddened by the news of the death of Aquino.
“Ms. Aquino played a crucial role in Philippines history, moving the country to democratic rule through her non-violent "People Power" movement over twenty years ago,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
Gibbs extended the American people and the President’s deepest condolences to the Aquino family and the Filipino nation.
“Her courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation,” he said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Aquino “helped bring back democracy back to the Philippines after many years of authoritarian rule with a faith in her country and its people that never wavered."
The former US First Lady added that Aquino was beloved and admired by the world for her extraordinary courage after her husband Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s assassination and during her service as president.
“Like millions of people worldwide, Bill and I were inspired by her quiet strength and her unshakable commitment to justice and freedom. We join the American and Filipino people in honoring her life and memory,” Clinton said.
US Ambassador Kristie Kenney said Aquino’s “courage in the face of tragedy and the peaceful restoration of democracy made her an icon for freedom-loving people everywhere”.
Aquino passed away Saturday morning. Her family said the former president peacefully passed away of cardio respiratory arrest after more than a year of battling colon cancer.
Kenney said Aquino had worked closely with the US embassy for the past 20 years. She helped select the annual recipients of the Ninoy Aquino Fellowships given for public service and journalism.
“We will deeply miss her personal warmth and her tireless zeal on behalf of talented Filipinos emerging as leaders in those fields.”
“Our deepest sympathy, thoughts, and prayers are with the Aquino family and all those who, like us, loved her," she said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was earlier interviewed by ABS-CBN North America News Bureau. She said Aquino was a “woman of courage” and an “inspiration” to many.
Aside from the US, the international community also joined the Filipino people in mourning Aquino’s death.
Ambassador Alistair MacDonald of the Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines also expressed his deepest sympathy to the Aquino family and the Philippine nation.
"My heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy go to the family of President Aquino, and to the Philippine nation, on this very sad occasion,” said MacDonald.
Aquino, MacDonald said, became a beacon of democracy in the Philippines in 1986 and “an inspiration for many others around the world”.
“Throughout her Presidential term, and notwithstanding a number of severe challenges, she never flinched in her determination to ensure that the Philippines would not veer from its democratic path,” MacDonald added.
The government of Singapore is also deeply saddened by the death of a former president which it described as a “symbol of democracy” in the Philippines.
“The Government conveys its condolences to her family, the Government and the people of the Philippines,” Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.
The statement added that Aquino had worked “tirelessly for the betterment of the Philippines”.
“She is a symbol of democracy in the Philippines and will long be remembered and respected both in the Philippines and internationally for her devotion to her people,” it stated.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva meanwhile praised Aquino's contribution to peace and development of democracy in the Philippines.
"The Government and the people of Thailand have learned with deep sadness of the demise of Her Excellency Corazon Aquino and we join the Republic of the Philippines in mourning," the message posted on the Thai Foreign Ministry web site said.
"Her Excellency Aquino’s contribution to the development of the country and her tireless devotion to peace, stability and democracy for the people of the Republic of the Philippines are well recognised throughout the world and will always be remembered and cherished by all of us with admiration and respect," it said. With a report from the Agence France-Presse