President Obama said on Monday he was "deeply saddened" to hear about the death of the first female astronaut.

Obama released a statement in response to news that Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, died.

"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sally Ride," Obama said in a statement.  "As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model.  She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools.  Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sally’s family and friends."

Ride died from pancreatic cancer in La Jolla, Calif. She had fought the disease for 17 months.