Obama Mourns Passing Of White House Photo Editor Rick McKay

"Rick dedicated his life to sharing the American Story through images."

President Barack Obama mourned the death of White House Photo Editor Rick McKay, who died of cancer Thursday at the age of 61.

In a statement released Friday, Obama praised McKay as someone who "had a knack for telling a good story."

"Rick dedicated his life to sharing the American Story through images – moments both expected and unlikely; snapshots both of epic events and everyday kindnesses," the president said.

"Our hearts are heavy at the White House today.  But Rick’s other family – his White House family – will tell our own stories, memories of Rick’s kindness and humor, his passion for NASCAR, his love for his dog, Kiley, and his dedication to doing the job the right way," Obama continued. "We thank Rick for sharing his joy and optimism through the photos that will live on through history, the stories that will live on in our hearts, and most of all, for making his time here count."

McKay was one of USA Today's first photography editors and also worked as a photographer and picture editor for Cox Newspapers, according to an obituary from the National Press Photographers Association. He joined the White House in 2009.

He is survived by his wife Carol and their children Nicholas and Alexandra.

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