Hank Aaron’s death garnered the reaction of some of the highest-profile politicians in the U.S.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama released statements on Aaron after the former MLB home run king died Friday. The baseball icon was 86.
"Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of our dear friend Henry Aaron. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, he has been a personal hero to us. A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come. We send our love to Billye and their family and to Hank’s many fans throughout the world," Carter said.
Bush added: "Laura and I are saddened by the passing of Hank Aaron. The former Home Run King wasn’t handed his throne. He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him. Henry Louis Aaron was a joyful man, a loving husband to Billye, and a proud father of six children who will deeply miss him. Laura and I send them our condolences and our thanks for sharing this great man with our country."
Aaron sat on the President's Council on Fitness and Sports under the Carter administration in 1978.
Bush honored Aaron with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
Obama said in a tweet: "Hank Aaron was one of the best baseball players we’ve ever seen and one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Aaron family and everyone who was inspired by this unassuming man and his towering example."
Aside from being a 25-time All-Star, an MVP and a three-time Gold Glove, the Braves legend ended his career as Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leader with 755. He had taken the crown from New York Yankees great Babe Ruth and later lost it to San Francisco Giants legend Barry Bonds.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982, picking up more than 97% of the vote.
After his career was over, Aaron wrote a book called "If I Had a Hammer," owned an automotive group and owned several chain restaurants.
The details behind Aaron's death were unclear. He had just received his COVID vaccine earlier this month and called on Black Americans to get their shots when it becomes available.
"I don’t have any qualms about it at all, you know. I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this. ... It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country," he told The Associated Press.