Following the news Friday that baseball legend Hank Aaron died at age 86, the sporting world began to pay tribute to the former home run champion and civil rights icon, remembering him as a man of grace, kindness, and dignity.
Aaron's fellow Baseball Hall of Famers - some of whom shared the diamond with "Hammerin' Hank" at points throughout their careers - expressed a profound feeling of loss.
Barry Bonds, who broke Aaron's career home run record in August 2007, wrote that African American role models like Aaron shaped him "for a future I could have never dreamed of."
Former MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who owned the Milwaukee Brewers when Aaron returned for a second stint in the city from 1975-76, released a statement on his friend's passing.
"Besides being one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank was a wonderful and dear person and a wonderful and dear friend," Selig wrote, per The Athletic's Will Sammon. "Not long ago, he and I were walking the streets of Washington, D.C., together and talking about how we've been the best of friends for more than 60 years.
"Then Hank said: 'Who would have ever thought all those years ago that a black kid from Mobile, Alabama, would break Babe Ruth's home run record and a Jewish kid from Milwaukee would become the commissioner of baseball?'"
While Aaron hung up his cleats after the 1976 season, the magnitude of his presence was not lost on past and present stars and managers of the modern game.
Others from outside the MLB family also paid tribute to Aaron, including former President Jimmy Carter, a Georgia native.