NARAL: Inouye was 'pro-choice champion'

"His lifelong pro-choice voting record in Congress reflects his unwavering respect for individual freedom and opposition to political interference in our most personal, private decisions.

"The legacy he leaves behind is one committed to ensuring that all women could make the reproductive healthcare decisions that were best for them and their families."

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusObama cabinet official: Clinton White House doubled down on 'abusive behavior' John Roberts has tough job of keeping faith in Supreme Court Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue MORE also extended condolences in a statement Monday, calling Inouye a "trailblazer" and a "staunch champion" for her department.

"He was a strong advocate for advancing the health and well-being of the American people – from promoting biomedical research to addressing issues affecting veterans, Native Hawaiians, and American Indians and Alaska Natives," Sebelius said.

Inouye died of respiratory complications after being hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

He had served in the Senate for nine terms.