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Former US First Lady Nancy Reagan dies

U.S. President Barack Obama clasps the hand of former first lady Nancy Reagan after he signed the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former US First Lady Nancy Reagan dies

Former United States First Lady Nancy Reagan has died at home in California at the age of 94.

She died of of congestive heart failure, the Reagan library said.

From 1981-89, alongside her husband Ronald, Nancy Reagan became one of the most influential first ladies in US history – after initially being criticised for her excesses, particularly in the redecoration of the White House, she later became much loved due to her campaigning and fundraising for causes.

Reagan’s best-known project as first lady was the anti-drugs “Just Say No” campaign but, after her husband died of Alzheimer’s in 2004, she became a champion for Alzheimer’s patients, raising millions of dollars for research.

Like her husband Nancy was a former Hollywood performer who made it all the way to the White House.

[caption id="attachment_848160" align="alignnone" width="635"]File photo showing former President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan posing with entertainer Michael Jackson in May of 1984. File photo showing former President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan posing with entertainer Michael Jackson in May of 1984.[/caption]

 

As Nancy Davis, she was an actress during the 1940s and 1950s and married Ronald Reagan, a prominent film actor, in 1952.

She served as first lady of California during her husband’s stint as governor from 1967 to 1975 before moving into the White House after his decisive victory over Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Initially she sought to emulate the style of one of her predecessors, Jackie Kennedy.

She extensively redecorated the White House, and accepted designer dresses worth $1m (£600,000) and a 4,732-piece set of china worth $209,000.

This spending spree provoked the ire of the public outraged at what they saw as waste while millions of Americans were losing their jobs.

Her 52-year marriage to Ronald Reagan was once described as the US presidency’s greatest love affair.

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