'SNL' Star Kate McKinnon Calls Ruth Bader Ginsburg 'Real-Life Superhero' in Touching Tribute

Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon has portrayed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the show numerous times over the years. In light of the news of Ginsburg's passing, McKinnon released a statement to PEOPLE in which she expressed the impact the late Justice had on her. Ginsburg reportedly died at the age of 87 following complications from pancreatic cancer.

"For so many of us, Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero: a beacon of hope, a warrior for justice, a robed crusader who saved the day time and again," McKinnon's statement read. "Playing her on SNL was a profound joy because I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude that the audience had for her. It was one of the great honors of my life to meet Justice Ginsburg, to shake her hand, and to thank her for her lifetime of service to this country." McKinnon has portrayed an outlandish version of Ginsburg on SNL since 2012. In the past, the late Justice did acknowledge the impression, which she said wasn't exactly accurate but was a fun one nonetheless.

As PEOPLE noted, Ginsburg watched McKinnon's sketches while filming RBG, a documentary about her life. She called the SNL star "marvelously funny," even though she was "not one bit" like her. Ginsburg later did press for RBG and spoke out about McKinnon's portrayal of her on the sketch comedy series. She said in 2018, "I liked the actress who portrayed me." She then seemingly touched upon McKinnon's version of herself as she added, "And I would like to 'Gins-burn' sometimes to my colleagues."

Several prominent figures and lawmakers have spoken out in light of Ginsburg's passing. Felicity Jones, who portrayed the famed Justice in the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex, released a statement in which she mourned the "beacon of light." In her statement, the actor not only spoke out on the many accomplishments that Ginsburg achieved throughout her 27 years on the Supreme Court, but she also noted that she will miss her dearly.

"Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave us hope, a public figure who stood for integrity and justice — a responsibility she did not wear lightly," Jones said in a statement. "She will be missed not only as a beacon of light in these difficult times but for her razor-sharp wit and extraordinary humanity. She taught us all so much. I will miss her deeply."