Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush offered praise to the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, who passed away Friday evening.
"Zbigniew Brzezinski was an accomplished public servant, a powerful intellect, and a passionate advocate for American leadership. His influence spanned several decades, and I was one of several Presidents who benefited from his wisdom and counsel," Obama said in a statement Saturday.
Brzezinski served as Carter's national security adviser from 1977 to 1981 following a long career advising presidential candidates and presidents. He was considered instrumental in normalizing relations with China, and helped lay the groundwork for the Camp David accords in which Egyptian and Israeli leaders reached a deal for peace. He served during the Iran hostage crisis, which marred Carter's foreign policy reputation. Brzezinski was also a "leading figure behind the downfall of the Soviet Union," according to John Hamre, president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.,-based think tank where Brzezinski was a counselor and trustee.
Obama added: "You always knew where Zbig stood, and his ideas and advocacy helped shape decades of American national security policy. Michelle and I send our condolences to his beloved wife Emilie, and his children Ian, Mark and Mika."
Bush and former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft also offered their condolences.
"Zbigniew Brzezinski was a great American who served our Nation with honor. Widely respected as a scholar and a practictioner, his command of foreign affairs made him both an instrumental architect of key policies -- and an influential voice in key policy debates. But most importantly, Zbig was a good man and a good friend, and we join in offering our sincere condolences to Emilie and his entire family," the pair said in a joint statement.
Brzezinski's daughter, Mika, co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" announced his death late Friday in a post on Instagram. "My father passed away peacefully tonight. He was known to his friends as Zbig, to his grandchildren as Chief and to his wife as the enduring love of her life," she wrote. "I just knew his as the most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have."
A cause of death was not provided. Brzezinski was 89.