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Gov. Gary Herbert paid tribute to late Gov. Norm Bangerter on Thursday, remembering the state's 13th chief executive as a principled leader and a valuable mentor.

An emotional Herbert, fighting tears, said it was a shock to hear Bangerter died Tuesday after suffering a massive stroke.

"We've lost a great leader in the state and we as the people of Utah should show gratitude for his leadership, his service and we certainly wish the Bangerter family well," Herbert said. "Hopefully they'll be buoyed up in the fact he was a great leader [and] did great things for this state."

Bangerter led the state through difficult times, with a economy in a deep recession, Herbert said.

"He was a good leader, maybe a great leader, because of his approach at difficult times. You didn't wonder where he stood," Herbert said. "It was probably the kind of governor we needed to have at those difficult times. … He certainly understood the importance of education and did what he needed to do, he thought, to help educational opportunity and help the economy."

Herbert said Bangerter contacted him regularly with advice when he Herbert was lieutenant governor and, later, governor.

"As governor, he has been a good confidante, and I've drawn upon his wisdom and experience and counsel," Herbert said. "He stopped in at the tail end of the legislative session and wanted to talk about what we were going to do if we move the prison with all that land out there, and he counseled me not to do anything in haste."