"Senator Byrd was the very embodiment of West Virginia's independent spirit in our nation's Capitol. His dedication to his state, our nation, and the Constitution was exceeded only by his love for his wife, Erma. His loss will be profoundly felt throughout West Virginia, as it is by me. I will miss him."
West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue:
"Today West Virginia has lost a great citizen and a best friend. Senator Robert C. Byrd spent his entire life putting others first, first and foremost the residents of this state. Billions of dollars in public projects bear witness to his considerable clout and prestige as the longest-serving member of Congress. He used that stature to better West Virginia.
"The nation will remember my dear friend as one of the monumental leaders of our generation. However, his accomplishments as an everyday man will be engraved in the hearts of all who knew him. His unique thoughtfulness, dedicated generosity and enormous spirit are testament to his iconic status.
"The Senator had a strong, abiding faith and love for the Lord. Robin and I are praying for the Senator's family during this difficult time."
Sharon Rockfeller, wife of Sen. Jay Rockefeller:
"Senator Byrd was larger than life. I will always remember him fondly as a warm, gentle man, whose passion for West Virginia touched and inspired us all. I have always admired Senator Byrd's great character and unfailing faith, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his daughters, his family, and all of his friends and neighbors in West Virginia."
Marshall University President Stephen Kopp:
"Sen. Robert C. Byrd now is a Man for the Ages. Let History write bold and defining strokes celebrating his extraordinary life, a life of incalculable achievement, service to our great state and nation and guardian of the U.S. Constitution. Today, we have lost a true Son of Marshall, a true Son of West Virginia and a true Son of our great nation. He was a man of humble beginnings who rose through more than 50 years of public service to become one of the most accomplished and legendary statesmen our nation has known, and we all mourn his passing with very heavy hearts."
Cecil E. Roberts, international president of United Mine Workers of America:
"The United Mine Workers and all coal-mining families and communities have lost their best friend in U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.''
Gaylene Miller, director of AARP West Virginia:
"For more than a half-century, Senator Byrd passionately fought in the U.S. Senate on behalf of all older Americans to protect workers and retain the integrity and stability of the Social Security system, and to ensure that all Americans have access to decent and affordable health care coverage. Senator Byrd always sought opportunities where he could be helpful to his native state and its people. His passing leaves an indelible void in the hearts of all of the constituents he served."
Former president Jimmy Carter:
"Sen. Robert Byrd and his wife Erma were our personal friends, and he was my closest and most valuable adviser while I served as president. I respected him and attempted in every way to remain in his good graces. He was a giant among legislators, and was courageous in espousing controversial issues. ... "
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.:
"Robert Byrd was one of the greatest minds the world has ever seen. From his graduation as valedictorian of his high school class at the age of 16 to his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee until the age of 91, he mastered everything he touched with great thoughtfulness and skill. Throughout more than half a century of service in this body, and six more in the House, Senator Byrd never stopped fighting for the people of West Virginia and for Democratic principles.''
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
"Sen. Byrd combined a devotion to the U.S. Constitution with a deep learning of history to defend the interests of his state and the traditions of the Senate. We will remember him for his fighters spirit, his abiding faith, and for the many times he recalled the Senate to its purposes. Generations of Americans will read the masterful history of the Senate he leaves behind, and they will also read about the remarkable life of Robert Carlyle Byrd.''
CIA Director Leon Panetta:
"Senator Byrd taught us all what it means to be a faithful servant of our democracy. I was honored to know him for more than 40 years, having first met him when I came to Washington as a legislative aide. In the 1980s and 1990s, I worked closely with him on economic and budget issues. This man of humble roots was an eloquent orator, skilled legislator, unrivaled master of Senate rules and traditions, and staunch defender of the role of Congress in our three-branch system of government. He deeply believed that the responsibility of elected officials was to govern. In Washington, few people are irreplaceable, but Senator Byrd is one. He will be greatly missed and long remembered as both a champion of the poor and a true giant of the Senate."
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.:
"I served with him for 36 years. We sat in the same row. He was a senator's senator. He was a keeper of our traditions, a keeper of the rules, and the kind of senator who always kept his word. ... I will miss Bob Byrd.''
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas:
"We knew that his time was drawing nigh. Senator Byrd was the keeper of the flame here in the Senate. He believed in the Senate as an institution. He believed in the constitutional role of the Senate not to be a rubber stamp for the president and he believed fiercely in his state and his constituents there.''
Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla.:
"For 50 years, his voice has protected the rules and traditions of the Senate and garnered great respect for the body as an institution. His forcing the Senate to strictly adhere to its rules and procedures has protected the voice of the minority and enforced respect and collegiality among its members.''
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:
"The Senate has lost a giant and America has lost a real fighter for our working families.''
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.:
"He never stopped growing as a public official, and was a man who learned from his mistakes. He was more than a friend and colleague -- he was a mentor to me and literally hundreds of legislators with whom he served over the past five decades.''
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis.:
"I can think of no one in the history of the Senate who demonstrated a greater capacity for growth than Robert Byrd. He was unmatched in his recognition of our obligation to the Constitution and to the institution of Congress itself.''