Scalia passed away Saturday at age 79

By Julie Mazziotta
February 13, 2016 06:00 PM
Andrew Harnik/AP;Charles Ommanney/Getty;Gavin Averill/The Hattiesburg American/AP

As more information comes in on the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, along with other politicians, are giving their condolences on social media.

The conservative Scalia, who has held his position since his appointment in 1986 by former President Ronald Reagan, passed away Saturday at age 79, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

“On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away,” Roberts said. “He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family.”

Politicians are weighing in on social media, with Cruz expressing his sadness, and calling for a replacement to wait until the next president comes into office in 2017.

President Obama also reacted to Scalia’s passing through his Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, who said the Obama family extend “their deepest condolences” to Justice Scalia’s family. He added in a later press conference that he would be nominating a candidate for the Supreme Court, despite Cruz and other GOP nominees’ statements.

Former President George W. Bush also expressed his condolences in a statement obtained by PEOPLE:

“Laura and I mourn the death of a brilliant jurist and important American, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was a towering figure and important judge on our Nation’s highest court. He brought intellect, good judgment, and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his wife, Maureen, their nine children, and the entire Scalia family.”

Vice Preside Joe Biden also shared his condolences for Scalia’s family in a statement:

“Jill and I send our deepest condolences to Maureen and the entire Scalia family on the loss of their beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Justice Scalia and I had fundamental disagreements about how the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution, but we shared a belief that sharp debates, tough questions, and deep respect for the adversarial process was an essential part of our judicial system and our democracy. That’s how our rule of law – forged with the deep principles and convictions of justices, and laid out in majority decisions and minority dissents – becomes the model for the world. For the country, Justice Scalia will be remembered as one of our most influential justices, who inspired and challenged generations of students, clerks, lawyers, and judges. And for so many, he will be remembered as a mentor, dear friend, and a man devoted to his faith and his family, who will miss him most of all, and who we will keep in our prayers.”

Here’s a roundup of additional reactions.

Scalia is survived by his wife, Maureen McCarthy Scalia, their nine children and his 36 grandchildren.