Bill Clinton on Chuck Berry: 'He Changed Our Country'

"The man was inseparable from his music – both were utterly original and distinctly American," says former president

Bill Clinton, who recruited Chuck Berry to perform at both of his presidential inaugurations, paid tribute to the rock legend following Berry's death. Credit: Chris Kleponis/AFP

Former president Bill Clinton, who recruited Chuck Berry to perform at both of his presidential inaugurations, paid tribute to the rock legend following Berry's death Saturday at the age of 90.

"Hillary and I loved Chuck Berry for as long as we can remember," Clinton wrote in a statement. "The man was inseparable from his music – both were utterly original and distinctly American. He made our feet move and our hearts more joyful. And along the way he changed our country and the history of popular music."

In Clinton's final year in the Oval Office in 2000, the president honored Berry as one of the Kennedy Center honorees.

"Chuck played at both my inaugurations and at the White House for my 25th Georgetown reunion, and he never slowed down, which is why his legend grew every time he stepped on stage," Clinton added. "His life was a treasure and a triumph, and he'll never be forgotten. Our hearts go out to his family and his countless friends and fans."

Barack Obama added on Twitter, "Chuck Berry rolled over everyone who came before him – and turned up everyone who came after. We'll miss you, Chuck. Be good."

Clinton joins an army of artists inspired by Berry to remember the rock n' roll innovator following his death, including the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles' Ringo Starr and countless more.