Obama praises Ohio’s Voinovich as ‘a true patriot’

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama is calling Ohio’s former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, who died Sunday, “a true patriot.”

Obama offered condolences to Voinovich’s family in a statement issued Tuesday. The former Republican U.S. senator and two-term Ohio governor died in his sleep at age 79.

Obama said he and wife Michelle were saddened to learn of Voinovich’s death, saying the Clevelander and Ohio University graduate leaves behind “a powerful legacy of service to his state and country that will not soon be forgotten.” Voinovich spent more than 40 years in public office.

A public viewing is planned for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday in the rotunda of Cleveland City Hall. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in the Cleveland suburb of Euclid.