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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 12, 2008

Statement by the Press Secretary

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death January 11 of Sir Edmund Hillary, a giant among the 20th Century's great explorers and a fast friend of the United States. Known best for his conquest of Mt. Everest and exploration of the North and South Poles, Sir Edmund dedicated his life to humanitarian and environmental causes.

In 1957, Sir Edmund led a group of New Zealanders on the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which helped establish America's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. His work marked the beginning of over fifty years of close partnership between the United States and New Zealand to help preserve Antarctica as a unique scientific and environmental laboratory for all of humankind.

Explorer, adventurer, conservationist, diplomat and humanitarian, Sir Edmund Hillary will be remembered as much for his warmth and humility as for his intrepid accomplishments. On behalf of all Americans, the President extends deepest condolences to Sir Edmund Hillary's family and friends, and to all New Zealanders as they mourn his passing.

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