Hi I'm Tianna. I'm new to this site but let me tell you a bit about me to introduce my topic. Growing up my family is super religious. I was sent to a religious school and expected to participate in every church function. At school there was this boy in my class. Hes now in my college classes and we talk but not to deeply. I found out a couple days ago though that he had a girlfriend who got diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She was a very kind girl, who gave everything she could to help out other people. Even when the make a wish foundation contacted her she asked for wells to be built in Uganda. She was an amazing girl but passed away a few days ago. I want to give him my condolences but don't want to be a hypocrite and say "I'm praying for you" Please let me know what you as an atheist would do or say?
I think that what Jim M and James suggested are both very good approaches that don't compromise your integrity. Just express your sadness at her death and your sympathy for your friend and the pain he must be experiencing. If you'd like a more thorough discussion of the issue a good place to start might be Greta Christina's Blog (the link is to her blog post: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing To Do With God). Often the ability to simply sit quietly with a person's pain is as meaningful as any words that we might say.