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Reactions to the death of Richard Holbrooke

December 13, 2010 |  7:33 pm

Holbrooke Diplomat Richard Holbrooke was "a larger-than-life figure, who through his brilliance, determination and sheer force of will helped bend the curve of history in the direction of progress," Vice President Joe Biden said Monday. "He touched so many lives and helped save countless more."

Holbrooke, who most recently served as the Obama administration's emissary to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died Monday after surgery to repair a tear in his aorta. He was 69.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that "it is almost a bittersweet bookend that a career of public service that began trying to save a war gone wrong now ends with another valiant effort to keep another war from going wrong."

Holbrooke was Kerry's top foreign policy advisor during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.), the incoming chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, called Holbrooke a "dynamic force in American diplomacy for more than five decades."

Warren Christopher, secretary of State during the first term of the Clinton administration, said Holbrooke's death "removes from the scene one of the most memorable foreign policy figures of our generation."

Holbrooke's news obituary by Times staff writer Paul Richter can be found here.

--Keith Thursby

Photo: Richard Holbrooke  in July. Credit: Shawn Thew/EPA