In life, Shinzo Abe divided public opinion. But after his shocking assassination on the campaign trail on Friday, all thoughts can be united on at least one thing: He was a patriot who gave everything for Japan to the moment of his death. His absence will weigh heavily on the country he leaves behind.

Abe was the most consequential Japanese politician of his generation. In office, he not only served longer than any other other prime minister, but he left behind a legacy of changes in a nation where political gravity is anchored to the status quo. While the totality of his eight years in office could not live up to the extraordinary first few years of his second term, he will go down in history as a political giant.

Abe’s desire for change attracted suspicion over his motives. In particular, many were turned off by the patriotism epitomized in his 2006 book, "Towards a Beautiful Country.” Shortly after its publication, Abe became Japan’s youngest postwar prime minister and the future seemed bright.