"I am deeply saddened to hear that Liu Xiaobo has passed away…. His death is a huge loss," Johnson said in a statement.
The secretary added that Liu Xiaobo should have been allowed to choose his own medical treatment overseas, which he was denied by the Chinese authorities.
"This was wrong and I now urge them to lift all restrictions on his widow, Liu Xia," Johnson concluded.
The widow of prominent Chinese dissident is being kept under house arrest since October 2010 deprived of movement and expression freedoms. She is allowed to go out only under escort of national security officers to pay weekly visits to parents and to shop occasionally. Her phone and Internet connections are shut down and she is not allowed to meet with friends in "sensitive circles".
In 2009, Liu Xiaobo was detained by Chinese authorities for "inciting subversion of state power," a year after publishing the Charter 08 manifesto that promoted democratic reforms in the country. In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights. In June, the Chinese Nobel Laureate was transferred to a hospital in northern China’s Shenyang city in Liaoning province, after he was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May.