The United States mourned the death of imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo Thursday and called on China to free the dissident's widow from house arrest and let her leave the country.
"Mr Liu dedicated his life to the betterment of his country and humankind, and to the pursuit of justice and liberty," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
"I call on the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China, according to her wishes," he said.
Liu, a democracy activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, died at age 61 of liver cancer while serving an 11 year prison term for "subversion."
To the very last, the Chinese government ignored international calls for his release so he could spend his final days free and abroad.
"In his fight for freedom, equality, and constitutional rule in China, Liu Xiaobo embodied the human spirit that the Nobel Prize rewards," Tillerson said. "In his death, he has only reaffirmed the Nobel Committee's selection."
Liu's wife Liu Xia has been under house arrest since 2008, but was allowed to visit her husband as he lay dying in a heavily guarded hospital.