Washington: Mourning the death of Richard
Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Af-Pak region, President Barack Obama Tuesday described him as one of the true giants of
American foreign policy who has made the country stronger,
safer and more respected.
Holbrooke, one of Obama Administration`s best known
diplomat, died last night, three days after he fell while at
work and was admitted to the intensive care unit of the George
Washington University Hospital.
He underwent a surgery on Saturday to repair a tear in
his aorta and another procedure on Sunday.
Despite the best of the efforts of the doctors,
Holbrooke, 69, could not be saved.
His death comes on the eve of the crucial monthly
Af-Pak situation room meeting at the White House to which he
was a permanent fixture in this Administration.
The annual Af-Pak review is scheduled to be announced
Thursday; in which he played a key role.
At the time of hiss death, Holbrooke was surrounded by
his wife, Kati, his sons David and Anthony, his step-children
Elizabeth and Chris Jennings, his daughter-in-law Sarah, and
the rest of their family.
Acknowledging the role of Holbrooke in the present
Af-Pak policy, Obama said the progress that the US has made in
Afghanistan and Pakistan is due in no small measure to
Richard`s relentless focus on America`s national interest, and
pursuit of peace and security.
"He understood, in his life and his work, that our
interests encompassed the values that we hold so dear.
And as usual, amidst his extraordinary duties, he
also mentored young people who will serve our country for
decades to come," Obama said.
"One of his friends and admirers once said that, If
you`re not on the team and you`re in his way, God help you.
Like so many Presidents before me, I am grateful that
Richard Holbrooke was on my team, as are the American people,"
"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
He touched so many lives and helped save countless
more. He was a tireless negotiator, a relentless advocate for
American interests, and the most talented diplomat we`ve had
in a generation," said US Vice President Joe Biden.
True to form, the Secretary of State, Hillary
Clinton, said Holbrooke was a fighter to the end.