Rona Ramon, widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, passes away at 54

President Reuven Rivlin honored her memory by saying "Ilan and Assaf touched the heavens, Rona touched our hearts."

Rona Ramon  (photo credit: RAMON FOUNDATION)
Rona Ramon
(photo credit: RAMON FOUNDATION)
Rona Ramon, widow of late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon and the mother of late IAF pilot Assaf Ramon, passed away on Monday.
Ramon was married to the first Israeli astronaut who was killed in 2003 in the fatal Columbia mission alongside six other crew members.
Their son Assaf Ramon, who was a fighter pilot in the IAF, died in 2009 in a training accident.
Ramon passed away at age 54 after struggling with cancer.
President Reuven Rivlin honored her memory by saying "Ilan and Assaf touched the heavens, Rona touched our hearts."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed the deep sorrow he and his wife Sara felt at her passing, "Rona withstood heroically the death of her husband and her son Assaf, of blessed memory," he said.
"She fought cancer with the same heroism, we will always remember her and her amazing family," Netanyahu said.
Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis  said that "we lost a heroic and noble woman."
"During our three year-long acquaintance I got to see up-close the spectacular work she did in honoring the memory of her late husband Ilan Ramon and her son Assaf of blessed memory," he said.
"An average person would have withdrawn into his sorrow," said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, "and give up...but not Rona."
"With great nobility she was able to raise from the tempest and show us all what is courage, faith, and choosing life," he said.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that her passing laid a shroud of "deep sorrow on the people of Israel."
"She chose life and devoted her life to doing for others in society," he said. 
Culture Minister Miri Regev spoke of how she met Ramon during the Independence Day ceremony honoring the 68th anniversary to the State of Israel.
"By creating the Ramon Foundation to honor her loved ones," she said, "[Ramon] gave present and future generations the legacy of striving for excellence that was so special to them."
Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz spoke about the commemoration ceremony at the civilian airport in Ramat Timna near Eilat named after Ilan and Assaf Ramon earlier this year.
"When the airport will opened soon, Rona will be there with us [in spirit]," he said.  
Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni called Ramon "an unusual personality that touched all of us in the deepest way."
"She will be remembered forever with her and our heroes Ilan and Assaf in the heart of the nation," she said.