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Jimmy Carter remembers Hank Aaron as 'personal hero'

'A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come.'

ATLANTA — The death of Braves Hall of Famer and civil rights legend Hank Aaron has sent sadness rippling through the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and beyond. 

Among the mourners are sports fans and dignitaries alike, including former President Jimmy Carter. 

In a statement, Carter shared that he and wife Rosalynn are "saddened by the passing of our dear friend Henry Aaron."

RELATED: President Obama remembers Hank Aaron's 'kindness, generosity and grace' in tribute

Aaron, who was 86, died in his sleep, according to the Atlanta Braves. 

"Hammering Hank," as he was known in the world of baseball, was not only a giant on the field who shattered Babe Ruth's home run record. His legacy went beyond baseball, as a leader in civil rights not only in Atlanta. His philanthropic work, Carter said, stood as a source of admiration. 

"One of the greatest baseball players of all time, he has been a personal hero to us," Carter said in a statement. "A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come."

Carter added that he and Rosalynn send their love to Billye and family and "to Hank’s many fans throughout the world."