Georgians pay tribute to Hank Aaron

Georgia’s leaders and elected officials paid tribute to baseball legend and former Braves player Hank Aaron upon hearing of his death Friday.

Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, was 86.

Below are the words and tributes of Georgia’s leaders.

Atlanta City Council Member Andre Dickens: ‘We have lost an Atlanta legend’

“If my generation and the generation behind me aren’t watching, we are blind – we are being called into action now. Big shoes don’t get filled with just talk, but by taking a stand. We have lost an Atlanta legend. Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron is and will always be one of the greats, not only in our beloved city, but in baseball forever.

Hank Aaron once said, ‘God put you here for a reason. And the reason he put you here is not for you to stand still. He put you here to make you understand that … you gotta do all you can to try and make things better for other people.’

As I reflect on this great loss, I am reminded of Hank Aaron’s fearless performance on the field, and his selfless life off the field. As a young man of only six years of age, playing baseball for the Collier Park Braves, I was so inspired by his career and his impactful life, and that admiration continued throughout my life.

Finally, I’d like to offer my condolences to his wonderful wife, Mrs. Billye Aaron.”

Atlanta City Council President Felicia A. Moore: ‘He was a global icon’

“Today we learned of the passing of legendary athlete and human, Hank “The Hammer” Aaron. He was a global icon, esteemed for his record-setting career in baseball. However, the City of Atlanta has been honored to also know him as a faithful community member, entrepreneur, and family man. We will continue to remember his example of perseverance in the face of extreme opposition. May our prayers and condolences be with his wife, Mrs. Billye Aaron, and family.”

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond: ‘America’s home run king’

“DeKalb County mourns the loss of Hank Aaron, America’s home run king. Hank was more than baseball. He was a leader, philanthropist, and civil rights icon. Inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame and named one of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, Hank Aaron’s tremendous impact on Atlanta and the world will live on for generations.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp: ‘One of Georgia’s greatest legends’

“Our family is heartbroken to hear the news of Hank Aaron’s passing. Hank Aaron was an American icon and one of Georgia’s greatest legends. His life and career made history, and his influence was felt not only in the world of sports, but far beyond – through his important work to advance civil rights and create a more equal, just society. We ask all Georgians to join us in praying for his fans, family, and loved ones as we remember Hammerin’ Hank’s incredible legacy.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms: ‘A cornerstone of our village’

“Derek, our family and I join the nation in sending heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Billye Aaron, the beautiful wife of Henry “Hank” Aaron for nearly 50 years, and the entire family. This is a considerable loss for the entire city of Atlanta. While the world knew him as ‘Hammering Hank Aaron’ because of his incredible, record-setting baseball career, he was a cornerstone of our village, graciously and freely joining Mrs. Aaron in giving their presence and resources toward making our city a better place. As an adopted son of Atlanta, Mr. Aaron was part of the fabric that helped place Atlanta on the world stage. Our gratitude, thoughts and prayers are with the Aaron family.”

Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts: ‘We were proud that Hank continued to make Fulton County his home’

“I was saddened to learn about the passing of Atlanta icon and baseball legend, Hank Aaron. Perhaps no other athlete meant as much to this region as ‘Hammerin’ Hank’.

Beyond his obvious impact as the sport’s longtime homerun king, Hank loomed large as a civil rights icon whose demeanor and dignity spoke to the social change that this nation and Georgia went through at the peak of his career.

Old Fulton County Stadium was the place where he broke the greatest record in the world of American sports, Babe Ruth’s mark of 714 home runs.

We were proud that Hank continued to make Fulton County his home long after his playing days were over and we maintained great pride that he was one of us.

All of us who are fans of the Braves and Fulton County residents are saddened by the loss but proud that he graced our region with his talents and graceful presence.”

Congresswoman Nikema Williams: ‘A Son of the South’

“I join the entire state in mourning the passing of a great Georgian, Hank Aaron, and sending heartfelt condolences to his wife Billye, his children, his brother-in-law Congressman David Scott, and all those who loved him. A son of the South who grew up in the Jim Crow era and started his career in the Negro leagues before shattering Major League Baseball records with the Atlanta Braves, Hank was a model of grit, hard work, and perseverance – not just to our state, but to the entire country and world. The city of Atlanta and state of Georgia will miss him greatly and continue to honor his legacy of service and community-building.”

Photo: Debby Wong /

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