JERUSALEM (AP) — Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and elder statesman of Israeli politics, has died, the Israeli news website YNet is reporting. He was 93.
Peres’ condition worsened following a major stroke two weeks ago.
He was one of the country’s most admired leaders at home and abroad and the last surviving link to Israel’s founding fathers.
He filled nearly every position in Israeli public life in an unprecedented seven-decade political career.
He was credited with leading the country through some of its most defining moments, from creating its nuclear arsenal in the 1950s to guiding a skeptical nation into peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s. He earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his key role in those peace negotiations.
President Barack Obama is praising Peres as a statesman whose commitment to Israel’s security and the pursuit of peace “was rooted in his own unshakeable moral foundation and unflagging optimism.”
In a statement from the White House, Obama says Peres looked to the future, “guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together.”
Obama calls Peres “the essence of Israel itself,” noting Peres had fought for Israel’s independence, worked its land and served Israel in virtually every government position.
Obama says that with the death of Peres, “a light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever.”
The following world figures will attend Shimon Peres’ funeral in Jerusalem on Friday, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry:
— U.S. President Barack Obama
— Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton
— Britain’s Prince Charles
— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
— French President Francois Hollande
— German President Joachim Gauck
— Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto
— Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull