Sonia and Shimon Peres
Sonia and Shimon Peres, October 1984 Photo by Nati Harnik / GPO
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Sonia Peres was a symbol of modesty and love and love of man, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, hours after the wife of President Shimon Peres died at the age of 87.

Netanyahu called Shimon Peres and expressed his condolences. "In her quiet and modest life, Sonia represented good-heartedness and turned into a symbol and example of modesty and love of man," said Netanyahu.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that "Sonia Peres was a very special woman and human being. She was the epitome of modesty, simplicity and loving kindness."

"Throughout the years she stayed out of the limelight and maintained her privacy, working tirelessly on behalf of those in need. All who knew her adored and admired her. May her memory be blessed," Barak added.

Her son-in-law and physician, Dr. Raphael Walden, told Israel Radio she died peacefully in her sleep.

Walden said that Peres was "all nobility and devotion. The family was very close to her, we would see her almost every day."

Former Labor Party director general and minister Uzi Baram arrived at the Peres residence to express his condolences, and spoke of his long-time friendship with Sonia and Shimon Peres: "She was noble woman in the full sense of the word, who quietly took part in volunteer work that will become known only now."

"She was a real woman, and very candid," Baram said, adding that "you always knew what she was thinking. She was very independent and led full life."