Arnold Schwarzenegger Pays Tribute to Late 'Hero' Mikhail Gorbachev: 'He Belongs to History Now'

·2 min read
Irina Virganskaya, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev attend the Gorby 80 Gala at the Royal Albert Hall on March 30, 2011 in London, England. The concert is to celebrate the 80th birthday of the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Irina Virganskaya, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev attend the Gorby 80 Gala at the Royal Albert Hall on March 30, 2011 in London, England. The concert is to celebrate the 80th birthday of the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Dave Benett/G80/Getty Arnold Schwarzenegger with Mikhail Gorbachev (right) and his daughter, Irina Virganskaya (left)

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shared kind words about Mikhail Gorbachev following the Soviet Union leader's death on Tuesday at the age of 91.

"There's an old saying, 'Never meet your heroes.' I think that's some of the worst advice I've ever heard," Schwarzenegger wrote on Instagram Tuesday. "Mikhail Gorbachev was one of my heroes, and it was an honor and a joy to meet him."

The actor-turned-politician continued by saying that everyone can learn from Gorbachev, who instilled democratic values into the Soviet Union's government and helped bring an end to the Cold War by working to repair international relations.

Ultimately, Gorbachev's plan to reform the USSR unintentionally brought an end to the communist nation and forced him to step down as a world leader.

RELATED: Mikhail Gorbachev, Final Soviet Leader Who Ended Cold War, Dead at 91

"Imagine rising to the very top of any organization, and then having the wisdom AND the courage to look around and say, 'This doesn't work for the people, someone has to fix it. If not me, who? If not now, when?'" Schwarzenegger said.

He continued: "Mikhail Gorbachev did exactly that in the old Soviet Union. He will be remembered for all time as a hero who dismantled the communist system despite what it meant for his own power."

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The former governor noted that "he belongs to history now," and offered an optimistic outlook that Gorbachev is likely "overjoyed" to be reunited with his late wife, Raisa Gorbachev, who died in 1999.

Schwarzenegger's tribute ended with a call for others to live like Gorbachev: "When you see a chance to make an impact, to leave a better world for the next generation, I hope you'll think about Gorbachev and ask yourself, 'If not me, who? If not now, when?' I know I will."