WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is remembering former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a leader who dedicated his life to Israel.

In a written statement, Obama used Sharon's death Saturday January 11, 2014, to reaffirm what the president says is America's unshakable commitment to Israel's security and its appreciation for the friendship between the two countries and their people.

Obama says the U.S. continues to press for lasting peace and security for all Israelis.

Tributes to Sharon also poured in from Secretary of State John Kerry, former President Bill Clinton and other Washington leaders.

Kerry calls Sharon a "big bear of a man" who is finally at rest.

Sharon died eight years after a stroke put him in a coma. He was 85 years old.

(Story by: The Associated Press, edited by WIBX)