Betty Ford Dead at 93, Honored by Obama

Betty Ford, the widow of late President Gerald Ford whose triumph over drug and alcohol addiction became a beacon of hope for addicts and the inspiration for her Betty Ford Center, has died, a family friend said Friday. Mrs. Ford was 93.

Mrs. Ford’s death was confirmed by Elaine Didier, director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He did not comment further, and said he expected the family to release a statement later today or Saturday.

Betty, whose full name was Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford, had undergone surgery for an undisclosed ailment in April 2007.

During and after her years in the White House, 1974 to 1977, Mrs. Ford won acclaim for her candor, wit and courage as she fought breast cancer, severe arthritis and additions to both drugs and alcohol. She was also an outspoken activist and passionate supporter for the Equal Rights Amendment.

President Obama paid tribute to Ford in a statement released earlier today.

“Throughout her long and active life, Elizabeth Anne Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion. As our nation’s First Lady, she was a powerful advocate for women’s health and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.”

via CNN

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