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Tributes flow as Nancy Reagan dies aged 94

By Staff Reporter

Published 07/03/2016

Nancy Reagan with husband Ronald
Nancy Reagan with husband Ronald
Nancy Reagan with husband Ronald
Nancy Reagan with President Barack Obama in 2009

Former US First Lady Nancy Reagan has died aged 94.

She passed away near her Bel Air home in California of congestive heart failure after suffering bad health in recent years.

She wed former US President Ronald Reagan in 1952, was First Lady from 1981 to 1989 and will be remembered for her 'Just Say No' anti-drugs campaign.

She will be buried next to her husband of 52 years at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, a family statement confirmed.

Her stepson Michael paid tribute to Nancy on Twitter, saying: "I am saddened by the passing of my stepmother Nancy Reagan. She is once again with the man she loved. God Bless."

Joan Collins spoke warmly of her friend, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush and George W Bush all paid tribute.

Donald Trump described her as "an amazing woman", while Arnold Schwarzenegger - who followed her husband's footsteps in moving from actor to California Governor - described her as "one of my heroes".

"She served as First Lady with unbelievable power, class and grace and left her mark on the world," he said.

Bill and Hillary Clinton paid tribute to a woman who was a "gracious" First Lady and a tireless adcocate as they offered their condolences.

"Nancy was an extraordinary woman: a gracious First Lady, proud mother and devoted wife to President Reagan - her Ronnie.

"Her strength of character was legendary, particularly when tested by the attempted assassination of the President and throughout his battle with Alzheimer's. She leaves a remarkable legacy of good."

A former actress, Nancy Reagan was Mr Reagan's closest adviser and fierce protector on his journey from actor to Governor of California and them to President of the United States.

She rushed to his side after he was shot in 1981 by a would-be assassin, and later endured his nearly decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

She visited Ireland with President Reagan in 1984.

Ahead of their visit, genealogists uncovered Mr Reagan's family roots in Co Tipperary. Reagan's great-grandfather Michael Regan (the spelling was changed later) was baptised in Ballyporeen in 1829.

Nancy met Ronald in 1949, when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, and they wed in March 1952.

They moved into the White House in 1981, when her husband became the 40th US President.

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