Reaction to the death of one-time home run king Hank Aaron. He died Friday at the age of 86:

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“Not long ago, he and I were walking the streets of Washington, D.C, together and talking about how we’ve been the best of friends for more than 60 years. Then Hank said: ‘Who would have ever thought all those years ago that a black kid from Mobile, Alabama, would break Babe Ruth’s home run record and a Jewish kid from Milwaukee would become the commissioner of baseball?’ Aaron was beloved by his teammates and by his fans. He was a true Hall of Famer in every way.”

— Former Commissioner Bud Selig

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“Hank symbolized the very best of our game, and his all-around excellence provided Americans and fans across the world with an example to which to aspire. His career demonstrates that a person who goes to work with humility every day can hammer his way into history — and find a way to shine like no other.”

— Commissioner Rob Manfred

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“I was lucky enough to spend time with Hank during several occasions during my career and have always had the deepest respect and admiration for all that he did both on and off the field. He is an icon, a legend and a true hero to so many, who will forever be missed. Hank Aaron – thank you for everything you taught us, for being a trailblazer through adversity and setting an example for all of us African American ball players who came after you.”

– Barry Bonds, who broke Aaron’s home run record in in 2007

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“To see current MLB stars be so nervous and respectful in his presence was remarkable. One top player actually stopped me before we entered the room and said ‘how do I look?’ I kind of laughed, and he just said ‘it’s (expletive) Hank Aaron, man.’ Yup.”

– Jeff Heckelman, who worked in Major League Baseball’s public relations department and coordinated the news conference for the league’s annual Hank Aaron award

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“I can’t imagine what Hank Aaron went through in his lifetime. He had every right to be angry or militant … but never was! He spread his grace on everything and every one he came in contact with. Epitome of class and integrity.”

— Hall of Famer Chipper Jones on Twitter

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“Hank Aaron’s incredible talent on the baseball field was only matched by his dignity and character, which shone brightly, not only here in Cooperstown, but with every step he took. His courage while pursuing the game’s all-time home run record served as an example for millions of people inside and outside of the sports world, who were also aspiring to achieve their greatest dreams.”

— Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark

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“Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of our dear friend Henry Aaron. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, he has been a personal hero to us. A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come.”

— Former President Jimmy Carter

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“On the field, off the field, for 23 remarkable playing seasons and beyond, Hank Aaron was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the phrase. Generations of players have walked, and will continue to walk, on a trail that Hank Aaron blazed with his determination, courage, singular talent and grace.”

— Players’ union executive director Tony Clark

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“Gibson, Ford, Brock, Seaver, Kaline, Morgan, Niekro, Lasorda, Sutton and now Hammerin Hank. We’ve lost some of the greatest to ever do it this year. @TommyLasorda is gonna have a hell of a roster to manage up there.”

— LA Dodgers 3B Justin Turner on Twitter

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“A child of the Jim Crow South, Hank quit high school to join the Negro League, playing shortstop for $200 a month before earning a spot in Major League Baseball. Humble and hardworking, Hank was often overlooked until he started chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record, at which point he began receiving death threats and racist letters – letters he would reread decades later to remind himself ‘not to be surprised or hurt.’ Those letters changed Hank, but they didn’t stop him.”

— Former President Barack Obama

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“The former home run king wasn’t handed his throne. He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him.”

— Former President George W. Bush

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“Hank Aaron’s incredible talent on the baseball field was only matched by his dignity and character, which shone brightly, not only here in Cooperstown, but with every step he took. His courage while pursuing the game’s all-time home run record served as an example for millions of people inside and outside of the sports world, who were also aspiring to achieve their greatest dreams. His generosity of spirit and legendary accomplishments will live in Cooperstown forever.”

– Jane Forbes Clark, Baseball Hall of Fame chair

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“Hank Aaron is on the Mount Rushmore for the greatest baseball players of all time! Rest In Peace my friend. Cookie and I are praying for the entire Aaron family.”

— Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson

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“Nancy and I pass our condolences to all of Hank’s family today. So saddened to hear the news of Hank’s passing. There was a certain spirit, even a reverence, when in Hank Aaron’s presence that you could feel. Grace, strength, integrity. We were blessed to have known him.”

— Former Braves star Dale Murphy

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