Margaret Thatcher dies

2013-04-08 13:56
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Margaret Thatcher - life in pictures

Britain's first female prime minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, has died following a stroke. See pictures of her life and time in office.

London - Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher died early on Monday, aged 87, following a stroke, her spokesperson said.

"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother, Baroness Thatcher, died peacefully following a stroke this morning," said spokesperson Timothy Bell.

Thatcher's two children were expected to make a further statement later.

The former Conservative leader - nicknamed the Iron Lady by Moscow during the Cold War - became Britain's first female prime minister in 1979 and the first leader to win three elections in a row. She resigned in 1990.

She was last in hospital in December for a minor operation to remove a growth from her bladder.

The former Conservative Party leader remains the only female premier in British history and was the 20th century's longest continuous occupant of Downing Street.

Political titan

Her daughter once revealed that the former premier had to be repeatedly reminded that her husband Denis had died in 2003.

She was told by doctors to quit public speaking a decade ago after a series of minor strokes.

Michael Howard, Conservative leader 2003-2005, told Sky News television: "It's terribly sad news. She was a titan in British politics.

"I believe she saved the country, she transformed our economy and I believe she will go down in history as one of our very greatest prime ministers."

Right-wingers hailed her as having hauled Britain out of the economic doldrums but the left accused her of dismantling traditional industry, claiming her reforms helped unpick the fabric of society.

On the world stage, she built a close "special relationship" with US president Ronald Reagan which helped bring the curtain down on Soviet Communism. She also fiercely opposed closer ties with Europe.

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