“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise,” Obama wrote. “And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”
Former President George W. Bush said he and his wife, Laura, are mourning with America about the loss of Lewis.
“America can best honor John’s memory by continuing his journey toward liberty and justice for all,” he said in a statement.
Former President Bill Clinton and wife, Hillary, released a joint message that began with this sentence: “We have lost a giant.”
And former President Jimmy Carter said Lewis made an “indelible mark on history through his quest to make our nation more just.”
“John never shied away from what he called ‘good trouble’ to lead our nation on the path toward human and civil rights,” Carter said in a statement. “Everything he did, he did in a spirit of love.”
COMPLETE COVERAGE: A civil rights hero, Georgia congressman, dies at 80
Also: John Lewis dead at 80: Outpouring of grief for a civil rights hero