*President Barack Obama said he and his wife Michelle are “deeply saddened” by the passing of civil rights veteran Dorothy Height.

“Ever since she was denied entrance to college because the incoming class had already met its quota of two African American women, Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality,” Obama said in a statement issued shortly after her death Tuesday at age 98.

Calling her “the godmother of the civil rights movement” and a hero to many Americans, Obama said Height was the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement and witnessed “every march and milestone along the way.”

Height led the National Council for Negro Women for four decades, and was present at the key battles for racial equality since the 1930s.