President Obama hailed former Sen. Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass.) for his storied career of standing up for civil rights and economic fairness.

"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former Senator Edward Brooke," Obama said in a statement hours after Brooke died Saturday of natural causes at his Coral Gables, Fla., home. He was 95.


"Senator Brooke led an extraordinary life of public service, including his time in the U.S. Army. As the first African-American elected as a state's Attorney General and first African-American U.S. Senator elected after reconstruction, Ed Brooke stood at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness," he added. 

Obama credited the lawmaker with build consensus and understanding regardless of political party.

"During his time in elected office, he sought to build consensus and understanding across partisan lines, always working towards practical solutions to our nation's challenges," Obama continued. "We express our deepest sympathies to his wife Anne, children Remi, Edwina, Edward, stepdaughter Melanie, family, friends and the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."