"We pray the day will come when his memory will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes," wrote Biden, who lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident. "It will take time, but that day will come"
"Jill and I send our love and prayers to Congresswoman Mary Sattler Peltola on the sudden death of her husband, Eugene 'Buzzy' Peltola, Jr., earlier today in a plane accident in Alaska," Biden, 80, wrote in a statement.
Biden revealed that he had just spent time with Rep. Peltola and her daughter, Kaeli, earlier this week as they honored troops stationed in Anchorage on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11. "On Monday, Mary flew back with me to Washington on Air Force One with the whole world ahead of her," he wrote. "Today, I spoke with her with that world shattered in shock and sadness."
The president added that the congresswoman and her husband also hosted Dr. Jill Biden back in May, when the first lady visited a rural high school in Bethel, Alaska.
"Spend even a minute with Mary and you’ll feel the love she has for her state and its people, and most of all, the love she has for her husband and their seven children," Biden said. "Buzzy was a devoted public servant and in the tributes coming from all over the state today, he is being remembered as a friend to all. But we know he was, first and always, the adored and devoted husband and father to a family now in pain."
Biden continued: "To the family — such a loss is cruel and unfair, and the first hours, days, and weeks will be the hardest. But we hope you remember that he will always be with you. And we pray the day will come when his memory will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes. It will take time, but that day will come."
Biden is no stranger to grief himself. His first wife Neilia and their 13-month-old daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash en route to go Christmas tree shopping in 1972, about a month after he won his first Senate race. Their two sons, Beau and Hunter, 4 and 3 at the time, survived the accident and sustained serious injuries.
Decades later, Beau would lose his battle with brain cancer in May 2015 at age 46.
"In the difficult time ahead, we keep you in our prayers," Biden wrote of Peltola, adding: "May God bless Eugene 'Buzzy' Peltola, Jr."
Peltola's office announced the news in a statement issued Wednesday morning.
"We are devastated to share that Mary's husband, Eugene Peltola Jr. — 'Buzzy' to all of us who knew and loved him — passed away earlier this morning following a plane accident in Alaska," Peltola's chief of staff, Anton McParland, said in the statement.
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"He was one of those people that was obnoxiously good at everything," the statement continued. "He had a delightful sense of humor that lightened the darkest moments. He was definitely the cook in the family. And family was most important to him."
According to the statement, Rep. Peltola promptly returned home to be with her family, with the statement asking for privacy and adding: "Our team will continue to meet with constituents and carry on the work of the office while Mary and her family grieve."
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