Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel died Saturday at the age of 87 after a prolonged illness.
Wiesel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, is best known for his memoir “Night” that recounts his family being sent to the Nazi concentration camps. It is the abbreviated version of the 800-page memoir he wrote in Yiddish, “Un di velt hot geshvign” (And the World Remained Silent), and was published in France in 1958.
World leaders and eminent personalities remembered Wiesel for the role he played as a writer, speaker, human rights advocate and philosopher.
U.S. President Barack Obama offered his condolences to Wiesel’s family, calling the Romanian-born activist a “living memorial,” and stressing on the effect his journey has had on today’s world.
“After we walked together among the barbed wire and guard towers of Buchenwald where he was held as a teenager and where his father perished, Elie spoke words I’ve never forgotten — ‘Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill,’” Obama said in a statement.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton sent their “deepest sympathies” to Wiesel’s wife Marion and his son Elisha.
“In words and deeds, he bore witness and built a monument to memory to teach the living and generations to come the perils of human indifference,” they said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed sorrow over Wiesel’s death, also on behalf of his country.
“In the darkness of the Holocaust when our brothers and sisters perished — the six million — Elie Wiesel served as a ray of light and an example of humanity that believes in the goodness of man,” the Associated Press (AP) cited Netanyahu as saying.
Reuven Rivlin, the president of Israel, posted a statement on Twitter to mourn the death of the man who strived tirelessly for the rights of the Jews.
“Wiesel left his mark on humanity through preserving and upholding the legacy of the Holocaust and delivering a message of peace and respect between people worldwide. He endured the most serious atrocities of mankind — survived them and dedicated his life to conveying the message of ‘Never Again,’” said the former president of Israel, Shimon Peres, according to the AP.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to social media to honor Wiesel’s life and contribution to the world.
French President François Hollande called Wiesel’s relationship with his country a "special" one as it was the place "where he studied after the war, where he published the first edition of ‘The Night’ thanks to Jerome Lindon, where he created the Universal Academy of Cultures in 1992."
“France honors the memory of a grand humanist, tireless defender of peace,” the AP reported him as saying.
Melinda Gates, the co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also took to Twitter to honor his memory.
Celebrities like George Clooney expressed their sorrow over the legend’s death.
“We had a champion who carried our pain, our guilt and our responsibility on his shoulders for generations. Now he’s gone. It’s hard to fathom. So I guess it's up to us now,” Clooney, whose wife Amal is a renowned human rights lawyer, was quoted as saying by the AP.