Mourning the death of Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Af-Pak region, US President Barack Obama described him as one of the true giants of American foreign policy who has made the country stronger, safer and more respected. Holbrooke, one of Obama administration's best known diplomats, died last night, three days after he fell while at work and was admitted to the intensive care unit of the George Washington University Hospital. He underwent a surgery on Saturday to repair a tear in his aorta and another procedure on Sunday. His death comes on the eve of the crucial monthly Af-Pak situation room meeting at the White House to which he was a permanent fixture in this administration. Acknowledging the role of Holbrooke in the present Af-Pak policy, Obama said the progress that the US has made in Afghanistan and Pakistan is due in no small measure to Richard's relentless focus on America's national interest, and pursuit of peace and security.