HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Barack Obama remembered Daniel Akaka on Friday as a "tireless advocate for working people" and a leader who embodied the aloha spirit.
In a statement, Obama said he was a teenager when Akaka was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976. Akaka was appointed to the Senate in 1990 and served in that body until retiring in 2012.
"Michelle and I celebrate the life and service of our friend, Senator Daniel Akaka," Obama said, in the statement issued after Akaka's death Friday. "He was a tireless advocate for working people, veterans, native Hawaiian rights, and the people of Hawaii."
He added, "He was one of the first people to welcome me with open arms when we served together in the Senate. He embodied the aloha spirit with compassion and care."
Obama closed his statement by sending his condolences to Akaka's family and to the people of Hawaii "who loved him and whom he loved throughout his life."