(JERUSALEM) -- There are reports from Israel that former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres has died in Tel Aviv two weeks after suffering from a major stroke.
He was Israel's longest-serving politician, holding all top posts in government, including twice as prime minister. In 2007, he was elected as the ninth president.
Peres was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin for the Oslo Peace Accords signed in 1993 after the first negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Peres was 93.
In a statement Tuesday night, President Obama called Shimon the "essence of Israel itself."
"I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend," the president said. "I first visited him in Jerusalem when I was a senator, and when I asked for his advice, he told me that while people often say that the future belongs to the young, it’s the present that really belongs to the young. 'Leave the future to me,' he said, 'I have time.' And he was right. Whether it was during our conversations in the Oval Office, walking together through Yad Vashem, or when I presented him with America’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, Shimon always looked to the future."
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