Story highlights

NEW: President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton will attend funeral for Shimon Peres

Peres died at 93 after suffering a massive stroke two weeks ago

Tel Aviv, Israel CNN  — 

Tributes and condolences poured in Wednesday following the death of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres.

President Barack Obama will lead the US delegation to Israel for Friday’s funeral, according to the White House.

Current and former world leaders, including former President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, were invited to services for the former Prime Minister, President and Nobel laureate. Peres, 93, died two weeks after a stroke.

Also invited are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Prince Charles, the leaders of Canada, Germany, France and Australia, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

Former President Clinton, who worked and regularly met with Peres as president, will attend the funeral on behalf of the Clinton family, according to a spokesman. Hillary Clinton has no plans to go, an aide said after some earlier reports indicated that she would attend.

Those invited have described the ninth Prime Minister of Israel as both a friend and an inspiration.

Shimon Peres: He was a warrior for peace

‘You are only as great as the cause you serve’

Addressing reporters Wednesday from Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv, his son, Chemi Peres, said his father “did not have any other purpose in life other than serving those he loved,” referring to the people of Israel.

He recalled his father once told him: “You are only as a great as the cause you serve.”

Chemi Peres said his father had “bequeathed a future to us. We will continue building the state of Israel and will also seek peace.

“The loss we feel today belongs to all of Israel, we all share this pain.”

Rafi Walden, Shimon Peres’ son-in-law and a physician, said the Israeli leader’s final contribution was to donate his corneas for transplant.

He said Peres had remained healthy and vibrant up until a stroke two weeks ago, adding that his family was always in awe of his lasting influence, recalling how world leaders would stand before him “like students standing before the rabbi.”

‘A genius with a big heart’

Obama was among those who called Peres a friend.

“There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves,” he said in a statement from the White House. “My friend Shimon was one of those people.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who together with Peres had championed the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords, said in a joint statement with his wife that “Israel has lost a leader who championed its security, prosperity, and limitless possibilities from its birth to his last day on earth.”

“He was a genius with a big heart who used his gifts to imagine a future of reconciliation not conflict, economic and social empowerment not anger and frustration,” added Clinton, whose spokesman said the former President would attend Peres’ funeral.