Rona Ramon, the wife of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, died at the age of 54 on Monday, after a long battle with cancer.
Ilan Ramon became Israel’s first person in space aboard the Columbia in 2003, but perished when the shuttle broke up upon re-entry weeks later.
After the deaths of her husband and son, a fighter pilot in the IAF, she established a foundation in their memory and counseled others in coping with tragedy, becoming a well-recognized public figure in her own right.
“We will never forget how you built from out of the ruins, how you endowed meaning in infinite pain, how your creativity filled the never-ending void,” President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama said in a statement.
“An average person would have withdrawn into his sorrow,” said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, “and give up… but not Rona.”
“With great nobility she was able to raise from the tempest and show us all what is courage, faith, and choosing life,” he said.
“She fought cancer with the same heroism, we will always remember her and her amazing family,” Netanyahu said.