Former presidents, lawmakers react to the passing of 'trailblazer' Cokie Roberts

PHOTO: Nancy Pelosi, left, greets journalist Cokie Roberts in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.PlayPablo Martinez Monsivais/AP, FILE
WATCH The extraordinary career of Cokie Roberts

"Trailblazer."

"Friend."

"Inspiring."

Just a few of the words top names in the political world are using to describe legendary ABC News and NPR journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was one of the first to respond Tuesday to the news that Roberts, who had covered and interviewed Washington's powerful for decades, had died at age 75 of complications from breast cancer.

PHOTO: Nancy Pelosi, left, greets journalist Cokie Roberts in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP, FILE
Nancy Pelosi, left, greets journalist Cokie Roberts in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

"The passing of Cokie Roberts is a great official loss for our nation, and a deep personal loss for all who were blessed to call Cokie a friend," Pelosi said in a statement.

“Cokie Roberts was a trailblazer who forever transformed the role of women in the newsroom and in our history books. Over five decades of celebrated journalism, Cokie shone a powerful light on the unsung women heroes who built our nation, but whose stories had long gone untold. As she helped tell the full story of America’s history, she helped shape its future – inspiring countless young women and girls to follow in her groundbreaking footsteps."

"Her warmth, wit and wisdom will be deeply missed by all,” Pelosi said.

“Michelle and I are sad to hear about the passing of Cokie Roberts,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “She was a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way.”

Roberts covered the Bush political family for years, and as the world mourned the death of President George H.W. Bush in December, Roberts credited his family as one that “cares about public service.”

“We are deeply saddened that Cokie Roberts is no longer with us,” President George Bush released in a statement. “She covered us for decades as a talented, tough, and fair reporter. We respected her drive and appreciated her humor. She became a friend.”

PHOTO: Presidential candidate George W. Bush was interviewed at the Iowa Caucus by Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and George Will on This Week, which aired Jan. 23, 2000, on the ABC Television Network. Terry Ashe/ABC
Presidential candidate George W. Bush was interviewed at the Iowa Caucus by Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and George Will on "This Week," which aired Jan. 23, 2000, on the ABC Television Network.

Roberts won countless awards, including three Emmys, throughout her decades-long career. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. She was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress in 2008.

"No one understood the Congress and Washington better than Cokie Roberts," tweeted Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a top Republican in the Senate. "She was a great reporter, a tireless volunteer for good causes, and a valued friend."

Louisiana GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy told ABC News that he felt a "sense of loss" upon learning about the loss of Roberts, a New Orleans native.

"She loved our state, loved our country. And I'm very sorry for her family and, and for all those who followed her,” Cassidy said.

"Cokie Roberts was one of the founding mothers of journalism in this country and a representative of the highest standards in the field," Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said. "A light has gone out in the Washington press corps, and she will be deeply missed."