Nancy Reagan – wife of former American President Ronald Reagan during his two terms in the White House – has passed on, aged 94.
Her family confirmed her passing in a statement issued this morning.
While no cause of death was given, Reagan had reportedly been in failing health for the past several years.
Nancy married Ronald – at that time, a young actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild – while they were both working in Hollywood in 1952.
After supporting him throughout his meteoric rise through the political ranks, Nancy became first lady when Ronald was sworn into office in 1981.
Initially criticized for her expensive taste (Nancy’s purchase of expensive new china for the White House in the midst of an economic recession was condemned by the media, as well as many of her husband’s political rivals.), Mrs. Reagan eventually became one of the most beloved first ladies in our nation’s history, often drawing favorable comparisons with Jacqueline Kennedy.
Reagan was widely praised for the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign that she launched in 1982, though the program had since fallen out of favor, due to what critics describe as a failure to properly address the complexities of addiction and urban crime.
Throughout her husband’s presidency, Nancy was viewed as one of his key advisors, often counseling him on staffing and other internal decisions.
Sources say Nancy will be buried next to Ronald at the site of his presidential library in Simi Valley, California.