Politicians from across Canada and from all political persuasions are paying tribute to Ralph Klein, the popular former premier of Alberta who died Friday at the age of 70.

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[M]any Albertans will mourn him as a beloved former Premier.  But Calgary was always the city he called home.  A true born-and-raised Calgarian, he served as mayor from 1980-1989 and, to me, he will always be Mayor Klein…Ralph Klein taught us, as Calgarians, that we don't need to put on airs. We don't need to pretend we're something we are not in order to be a truly great city in this world."

- Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

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Ralph Klein tosses a pancake to a volunteer as he cooks during the Premiers Stampede Breakfast in Calgary in 2000. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

"Ralph Klein's ability to connect with Albertans from all walks of life was absolutely remarkable. He could walk from the Petroleum Club in downtown Calgary to the curling rink in St. Paul and carry on a conversation with absolutely everyone he met. Ralph was a real man of the people."

- Alberta Premier Alison Redford

"During his 26 years in elected office, Ralph Klein was a formidable voice for his constituents.  He was an accomplished leader who should be remembered and honoured for his public service. Everyone appreciated his passion for the province of Alberta. His work has left an indelible mark on his province."

NDP Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair

"While Ralph had opponents, he made few personal enemies. To me, he wasn't King Ralph, as some described him. Instead, during a colourful political career he remained Citizen Ralph - a man equally at home in the Petroleum Club as he was in the St. Louis Hotel. A man who said what he believed and did what he said."

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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Ralph Klein declared the Alberta debt paid off on July 12, 2004. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

"As a leader, Ralph was tough enough to keep his promises, humble enough to admit his mistakes, and disciplined enough to follow through on his vision. His courageous leadership in eliminating Alberta's budget deficit, wiping out our debt and putting money in the bank made Alberta a world leader in fiscal responsibility and paved the way for other governments to follow suit."

- Alberta Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith

"It was his fiscal conservatism that brought Alberta out of debt and allowed for one of the most memorable photo ops in our legislatures' history; 'Paid in Full'. Even if you didn't agree with his politics there is something to be said for his determination and enthusiasm. He loved this province and no one before or since has had the ability to communicate with average, ordinary Albertans - as he affectionately called them 'Martha and Henry'. People loved him for it."

- Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman

"The nature of his illness made it very difficult to express his thoughts these past years which I know was a real challenge for him, but Ralph very much knew and appreciated the well wishes and warm messages he received. I want to thank everyone for their support and especially of the caregivers who helped us throughout. It has all made a tremendous difference."

- Colleen Klein, wife

Prominent Canadians bid farewell to Ralph Klein

Storified by CBC News Community· Fri, Mar 29 2013 15:34:34

Politicians of all political stripes took to Twitter on Friday to share their condolences following the death of Ralph Klein, a longtime pillar of Albertan politics.
Laureen & I join Albertans & Canadians in paying tribute to Ralph Klein. We have lost a unique & significant leader. http://ow.ly/1UgbSwStephen Harper
Very sorry about Ralph Klein's passing - he was an original, a gifted politician and a man without pretense. He will be missed.Bob Rae
Blessings to Premier Klein's family. Ralph was a terrific Canadian. He represented his people with passion and strength. #cdnpoli #abpoliJustin Trudeau, MP
Ralph Klein never ran for national office, but profoundly changed the arc of Canadian politics. In many ways, he was our Thatcher.Jason Kenney
Rest in Peace, Ralph Klein. A great leader who never lost touch with the common sense of the common people. Thank-you for a life of service.Jason Kenney
Condolences to family and friends of former Alta Premier Ralph Klein. 1942-2013. A towering figure in our political life. #cdnpoliElizabeth May MP
I am saddened by the loss of Ralph Klein. May his resilience and dedication live on in our memories.David Johnston
A straight talking leader with vision, capacity for the toughest decisions & a grassroots touch is a very special leader. RIP Ralph KleinBrad Wall
Rest In Peace Ralph Klein. Our sincerest condolences to the Klein family.Mayor Rob Ford
May Premier Klein rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with Colleen and the Klein family. http://alberta.ca/NewsFrame.cfm?ReleaseID=/acn/201303/33897B7AD3B0F-0CE2-D9D7-9DC2E0A0B91D2589.html #ableg #pcaaAlison Redford
Ralph Klein, the hugely popular though often controversial man known as "King Ralph," or just plain Ralph, led Alberta's long-ruling Progressive Conservative Party from 1992 to 2006 and presided over four consecutive majority governments.

The former premier, who died Friday surrounded by family and friends in a Calgary-area long-term care facility, was 70.
How will you remember Ralph Klein? Share your thoughts for our book of condolences, and read through the entries of Canadians from across the country.
CBC News - Interactive - Klein CondolencesRalph Klein: 1942-2013 Guestbook of condolences