World mourns beloved leader

Published: Monday, Jan. 28 2008 10:02 a.m. MST

Utah House Minority Leader Brad King, D-Price: "This has really gotten to me tonight," he said, his voice cracking. "How do you sum up that kind of a life? Certainly, he was a great leader, but more importantly, a kind and gentle man. He will be missed by all of those who knew him. His personality and charisma transcended the bounds of religion. His are big shoes to fill. We send good wishes to his family." President Hinckley's grandson — Joseph Hinckley — is working as King's intern during the current legislative session.

"We wish President (Thomas S.) Monson and all the other church leaders good luck."

University of Utah President Michael K. Young: The University of Utah family joins with millions worldwide who mourn the passing of President Hinckley ... a cherished alumnus of the U. Citizens of all nations will miss his great faith and boundless energy, his vision and spiritual resonance, and his compassion and gentle good humor. Truly the world is poorer today because of his passing.

"He leaves behind a rich legacy of courage and compassion. ... On countless occasions President Hinckley shared his personal conviction that all people be afforded the right of thought, conscience and belief. Such was the power of his conviction that hearts were changed and decisions were made that furthered religious freedom around the globe....

"He was a great friend to the U. and to many of us personally. ..." President Hinckley "spent a lifetime reaching down to lift others up. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with all those who will feel so deeply the loss of this great man."

Philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., father of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., has been a close personal friend of President Hinckley "for at least 35 years" and serves in one of the church's Quorums of the Seventy. Huntsman Sr.'s father-in-law was Elder David B. Haight, who passed away several years ago.

For years, sources said, Huntsman Sr. provided one of his corporate jets for President Hinckley to travel in. But that was just the latest connections between the families. "President Hinckley represented the very best in human spirit, he was a gifted leader. He was gracious and kind and a very dear friend," said Huntsman Sr.

"He will be greatly missed. He was my hero."

Huntsman Sr. said as he got to know President Hinckley better, they would often talk not only about their families, but also about business. Even though President Hinckley was a religious leader who spent the vast majority of his career working for and serving the church, he had an astute and keen mind about business, Huntsman Sr. said.

As the Huntsman Corp., which made Huntsman Sr. a billionaire, grew and acquired chemical firms across the world, Huntsman Sr. said President Hinckley gave advice as a personal friend on what turned out to be smart business moves.

"He loved to discuss business and understood business in great detail — all around the world. He helped me immensely as an adviser. He was a friend. He attended all of our children's weddings. There was great love between our families" and he will be greatly missed, Huntsman Sr. added.

"We loved and admired him," he said.

• The campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, said Romney will make a comment Monday morning.

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Reaction among LDS members who learned of the death Sunday night during church meetings reflected the love Latter-day Saints have for the man they considered to be God's prophet on earth.

Cell phones went abuzz at a Gresham, Ore., gathering of members receiving instruction about LDS temples Sunday night.

"We all got phone calls at the exact same time," Betsy Batman said. "Everyone just went out into the lobby and kept looking at each other to figure out if it was real."

After the fireside ended, Bishop Robert Nielson of the Kelly Creek Ward, Gresham, Ore., Stake, said the fireside topic was "a fitting subject to be talking about tonight."

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