Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday mourned the passing of former U.K. Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who died early Saturday morning at the age of 72 after recently being diagnosed with cancer.

Sacks, the prolific author of multiple books and articles on Jewish thought and religious tolerance, served as the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, a position that has since been held by Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks … a man of thought and a man of words, an original teacher and [a man] of creativity, a man of truth, whose generosity and compassion built bridges between people,” Rivlin said in a statement.

“Rabbi Sacks bravely faced difficult questions and always found the right words to illuminate the Torah and explain its paths,” continued Rivlin. “We will always remember his warnings against violence in the name of God, and his belief that we have the power to heal a fractured world.

“My condolences to his family, to British Jewry and to his many students. May his memory be a blessing.”

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