Rep. Mazie Hirono issued a statement Monday expressing “deep condolences” on the death of King George Tupou V, who died on Sunday at age 63.
Hirono wrote that the king would be remembered for the legacy of democracy he left.
“He sacrificed much of his royal authority in bringing Tonga its first popularly elected parliament,” Hirono wrote. ” My thoughts are with King Tupou V’s daughter, Ilima, and all who mourn his loss.”
President Barack Obama also issued a statement on Monday, offering sympathy to Tupou’s family and expressing gratitude for Tonga’s alliance with the United States.
“As I said when I met with the King at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduation last spring, Tonga is one of the United States’ closest partners among the Pacific Island states and we are grateful for its role in Afghanistan, where Tonga makes an active contribution to the international coalition,” Obama wrote.