FILE - In this Sunday May 16, 2004 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pauses during a news conference in his Jerusalem office regarding education reform. Israeli media outlets are reporting that Sharon has died Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 at the age of 85. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)
Former President George W. Bush is calling ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "a warrior for the ages." Gov. Rick Perry is mourning the loss of "an uncompromising patriot."
"Ariel Sharon was a proud and strong defender of the nation of Israel, an uncompromising patriot who faced down the multiple enemies surrounding his young country with selfless determination and unflinching courage. We stand with the Israeli people as they mourn his passing. Anita joins me in sending our prayers and sympathies to Sharon's friends and family, as well as everyone ever inspired by his courageous example of love of country."
In a statement, Bush said he was honored to call Sharon a friend and "partner in seeking security for the Holy Land and a better, peaceful Middle East."
"Laura and I join our friends in Israel and around the world in mourning the loss of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I was honored to know this man of courage and call him friend. He was a warrior for the ages and a partner in seeking security for the Holy Land and a better, peaceful Middle East. Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to Ariel's family and all who will dearly miss him."
Perry became governor when Bush left for Washington in December 2000. Perry said Sharon "faced down the multiple enemies surrounding his young country with selfless determination and unflinching courage."
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz echoed Bush, saying: "Israel has lost a great warrior."
Attorney General Greg Abbott, now running for governor, called Sharon "a giant leader."
Published at 4:49 PM CDT on Jan 11, 2014
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth