“I just wanted to briefly express my sadness over the passing of former first lady Nancy Reagan,” Obama said. “On a personal note, Mrs. Reagan also understood the value of mentoring. She warmly and willingly offered advice and encouragement to me as I settled in to my role as first lady, and I am so grateful for her kindness and generosity to me and my family over the years.”
The current first lady went on to describe Reagan’s professional accomplishments as well, noting that she had dedicated much of her time to significant problems in the country.
“Mrs. Reagan was a woman of incredible strength and grace and she was a passionate advocate for so many important issues,” Obama added. “For the example she set both during her time in the White House and beyond. Mrs. Reagan reminded us of the importance of women’s leadership at every level of society.”
Reagan died over the weekend at the age of 94. On the day of Reagan’s death, a spokesperson announced in a statement obtained by PEOPLE that the public would be given a chance to pay their respects before she is buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library next to her husband, President Reaganwho died in 2004.