Monday, April 8, 2013

'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher dead at 87

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher died on Monday following a stroke. She was 87.

Thatcher was Britain's only woman prime minister and transformed the country and inspired conservatives around the world by radically rolling back the state during her 11 years in power. She ruled from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British premier since the early 19th century.

Thatcher was loved and loathed in equal measure as she crushed the unions, privatized vast swathes of British industry, clashed with the European Union and fought a war to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentine invaders.

She had a close relationship wit U.S. President Ronald Reagan in the Cold War, supported President George Bush during the 1991 Gulf War and expressed interest in doing business with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Thatcher had been in declining health for some years, suffering from dementia. A series of mini-strokes in 2002 made her withdrew from public life, and no longer able to make the kind of waspish pronouncements that had been her forte in office – and beyond.

She died at the Ritz hotel at about 11 a.m. after suffering a stroke. Her doctor and carer were there when she died. Her children were not at her bedside as they were abroad.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen was saddened by the news.

[With reports from Agence France-Presse, The Guardian, and The Telegraph. Photo from Wikipedia.]

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