Former first lady Nancy Reagan, the stylish and strong-willed widow of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, has died of congestive heart failure, her spokesperson confirms. She was 94.
Though her public appearances became rare after her husband's death in June 2005 — preceded by his decade-long struggle with Alzheimer's disease — she made frequent trips to the Reagan Library, both to visit Ronald's grave and to help expand the library's activities and influence. [[371203081, C]]
While Reagan is most well known for her roles as an actress and as first lady during her husband's eight years as president from 1981 to 1989, many also remember her work with the "Just Say No" anti-drug use campaign and as an advocate for stem cell research. Reagan would argue she considered her most important role to be Ronald Reagan's wife.
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President Barack Obama and the first lady extended their "sincere condolences to the Reagans' children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren."
"We remain grateful for Nancy Reagan's life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again," the president's statement read.
Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton expressed grief over her death. In a statement, Bush and his wife Laura praised her fierce loyalty to her "beloved husband" while Clinton and the former secretary of state, called Reagan an "extraordinary woman" whose "strength of character was legendary, particularly when tested by the attempted assassination of the president, and throughout his battle with Alzheimer's."
California Gov. Jerry Brown extended his deepest condolences to the Reagan family on behalf of his family and all Californians. Sen. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recalled Reagan's joy at the dedication ceremony for President Reagan's statue at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
"I hope that it is a comfort to the entire Reagan family that so many around the world appreciate her life, mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time," Pelosi said in a statement.
World leaders reacted to news of her death as well. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will always remember Nancy Reagan as a "great friend of the State of Israel," and the U.K.'s foreign secretary called her passing a "great loss for America."
On Sunday, Nancy Reagan's stepson, Michael Reagan, led tributes to the former first lady on social media, writing: 'I am saddened by the passing of my step mother Nancy Reagan...She is once again with the man she loved. God Bless...' [[371203271, C]]
Presidential candidates and congressional leaders also took to twitter to mourn her death and praise Reagan's legacy and life. [[371203421, C]]