Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87 of a stroke, her spokesman has confirmed.
Margaret Thatcher was the UK’s first female PM and the only one to date. Lord Bell, spokesman for Thatcher, announced her death this morning in a statement, and said:
“It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning … A further statement will be made later.”
Thatcher, a conservative and very polarizing figure in UK politics both during her tenure as PM and historically, was in office between 1979 to 1990. Her style of governance and personal demeanor earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady,” and the former PM was later portrayed in a film of the same name starring Meryl Streep.
Thatcher was a close ally of US President Ronald Reagan, and, when he died, the former British Prime Minister said Reagan was “a great president, a great American, and a great man,” adding she had “lost a dear friend.”
Britain’s Guardian reports that Queen Elizabeth has acknowledged Thatcher’s passing and that the Press Association reports:
“The Queen is sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher and Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family, Buckingham Palace said today.”
Current British PM David Cameron tweeted:
“It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton”
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) April 8, 2013
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage commented:
“I have always said that Mrs Thatcher was a great inspiration to me personally. Whether you loved her or hated her nobody could deny that she was a great patriot, who believed passionately in this country and her people.”
“A towering figure in recent British and political history has passed from the stage. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Ousted by her own Conservative Party in 1990, Thatcher faded from UK politics. The former PM experienced the first of a series of strokes in 2002, and remained largely out of the spotlight until her death Monday.