Sen. Johnny Isakson: Biden, Kemp, public figures from both sides of aisle react to former senator's death

News of the death of former Sen. Johnny Isakson's death reached eyes and ears across the county on Sunday morning. 

The veteran and political giant from Georgia served in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Isakson was nine days shy of his 77th birthday.

Isakson campaigned for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who issued a statement following his passing:

"Georgia has lost a giant, one of its greatest statesmen, and a servant leader dedicated to making his state and country better than he found it. Johnny Isakson personified what it means to be a Georgian. Johnny was also a dear friend to Marty, the girls, and me — as he was to so many. He answered the call to public service many times over his career as a state legislator, minority leader in the Georgia House, chair of the State Board of Education, Congressman, and finally as Senator.

"His work to champion our veterans, deliver disaster relief for Georgia farmers after Hurricane Michael, and always stand up for Georgia's best interest in the U.S. Senate will live on for generations to come. As a businessman and a gifted retail politician, Johnny paved the way for the modern Republican Party in Georgia, but he never let partisan politics get in the way of doing what was right.

"Above all, Johnny was a wonderful father to his three children and a devoted husband to Dianne. Our family is sending our deepest condolences and prayers to the Isakson family, his former staff, and all lucky enough to call Johnny a friend. Georgians across our state join them in mourning the loss of one of our best."

Isakson appears to have left a mark on former President Joe Biden, a former U.S. Senator:

"Jill and I and the entire Biden family are saddened to learn of the passing of Johnny Isakson, the distinguished former United States Representative and Senator from Georgia.
Senator Isakson was a colleague and a friend.  We served together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, traveled together, and found common ground built on mutual respect for each other and the institutions that govern our nation. 
Johnny was a proud Republican, but he put country before party, and valued building consensus over political combat. I always loved Johnny’s description of the only division he saw as between "friends and future friends."
In Johnny’s memory, let us heed the wisdom he offered upon retiring from the Senate, where he urged everyone to devote less energy to describing problems and more effort to working together to provide answers.
Johnny Isakson was a patriot and a gentleman. 
Georgia has lost an indispensable son.
America has lost an exemplary leader.
Our prayers are with Dianne and the entire Isakson family."

U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff released a statement in response to Isakson's death:

"Senator Isakson was a statesman who served Georgia with honor. He put his state and his country ahead of self and party, and his great legacy endures. Alisha and I will keep Dianne and the Isakson family in our prayers."

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr joined a chorus of political leaders who revered Isakson:

"When I was a young man just getting started in politics, I wanted to be like Johnny Isakson."

"Johnny was the first person I voted for when I was 18 and was the first person I worked for in politics. Over time, he became a mentor and a close friend. I will never forget the time spent with him, whether in the halls of the Senate or the back roads of Georgia. And I will always be grateful for his wisdom and guidance, and how he taught us to live life as if there were only two kinds of people — friends and future friends.

"Johnny Isakson exemplified everything you would want in a public servant, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest Georgia ever had. I try to live up to his example every day.

"Joan’s and my heart go out to all of the Isaksons, who over the years became like family to us."

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan championed Isakson's amiability as something to strive for in modern politics:

"Profoundly sad to hear about the passing of Sen. Johnny Isakson. Like he was to many, Sen. Isakson was truly a role model for me in politics and taught me the value of making friends and building consensus. We can all learn lessons from the life of service led by Sen. Isakson."

Isakson's example moved Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

"I am privileged to have called Senator Johnny Isakson a friend. A true statesman with a servant’s heart, he was always attentive to the needs of our communities. While our state has lost a man of honor, he leaves an indelible example of servant leadership we should all work to emulate. Derek and I extend our prayers and condolences to his family and loved ones."

Sen. Raphael Warnock, who won his seat from Isakson's replacement Kelly Loeffler, remarked on the longtime politician's death:

"All of Georgia is grieving the loss of a political giant this morning. Senator Johnny Isakson represented the best of our state and our country. Senator Isakson was known for putting Georgia first and working across the aisle to get things done. I enjoyed spending time with Senator Isakson, including every year when he would come join Ebenezer Baptist Church for our annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And, I will always cherish the words of advice and encouragement he gave me after I was elected to be one of Georgia’s next United States Senators.

"His model of public service is an example to future generations of leaders on how to stand on principle and make progress while also governing with compassion and a heart for compromise. We’re all better for Senator Isakson’s many decades of service, and it is an honor to serve in the seat he once held. He was an upstanding elected official, and an even better man. I will miss him, and I send my deepest sympathies to his family and all of us across Georgia and the country who loved and admired him."

Isakson's political colleagues with all political ideologies offered condolences following his death. 

The Atlanta City Council released the following statement after learning of Isakson's passing:

"Former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson leaves a legacy of finding common ground and solving problems. We are saddened by his loss and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loves ones. 

Known for his practicality, his demeanor created many lifelong friendships from both sides of the aisle. His service and bipartisanship were testaments to his love for Georgia and he will be remembered for his integrity and pragmatism."