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World Leaders Pay Tribute to Queen Elizabeth

FILE: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by residents outside Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto township southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, March 23, 1995.

UPDATED TO INCLUDE SOUTH AFRICA, AU COMMENTS: Leaders from around the world pay tribute to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who died at age 96 on Thursday. Her passing was announced by Buckingham Palace in late afternoon.

From the moment Buckingham Palace gave the world the word of Queen Elizabeth's passing, tributes from heads of state have been pouring in.

Her son, now Charles III, said "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."

Britain's new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, who went to Balmoral to see the Queen on Tuesday, said "We are all devastated by the news we have just heard from Balmoral. The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world."

Truss framed the moment with "Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built."

US President Joe Biden praised Queen Elizabeth as a a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special." he said.

"Her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten," said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Separately, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the queen's state visit in 1965 to post-war Germany was an "invaluably important signal of reconciliation after two devastating world wars."

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday hailed Queen Elizabeth II as "a friend of France... who has left her mark on her country and her century forever", following the announcement of her death.

"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation's continuity and unity for over 70 years. "I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left her mark on her country and her century forever," Macron stated.

African Union chief Macky Sall described Queen Elizabeth II as "illustrious."

Sall, who is also Senegal's president, praised her "exceptional career", hailing "the memory of the illustrious deceased" in a message on Twitter.

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to the British government and people," he said.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday expressed his "profound and sincere condolences" over the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in a statement addressed to the new king, Charles III.

"Her Majesty was an extraordinary and world-renowned public figure who lived a remarkable life. Her life and legacy will be fondly remembered by many around the world," Ramaphosa said.

"The Queen's commitment and dedication during her 70 years on the throne remains a noble and virtuous example".

Tributes poured forth from the Commonwealth.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute Thursday to Queen Elizabeth II, saying "She was a constant presence in our lives -- and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country's history," he said, adding that she will be remembered for her "wisdom, compassion and warmth."

Australia's prime minster Anthony Albanese -- an avowed republican -- on Friday paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's "timeless decency" and said her death marked the "end of an era."

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called her life "extraordinary," saying "The Queen was a much respected constant through unprecedented global change."

Leaders in other nations also praised the monarch.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his condolences, saying "She guaranteed stability in moments of crisis and kept alive the value of tradition in a society in constant and profound evolution."

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday he was "pained" by the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, hailing the monarch of his country's former colonial ruler as a paragon of "dignity and decency."

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said he was "deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Over more than 70 years, she exemplified selfless leadership and public service."

Queen Elizabeth II reigned during the era that the British Empire dissolved, which saw the independence of numerous African states. Tributes from more African leaders are also expected to mark her passing.

This report was compiled with information provided by Agence France-Presse and Reuters.