Margaret Thatcher Dies; First Female British Prime Minister and "Iron Lady" Was 87

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Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister who governed the kingdom from 1979-1990 and was known as The Iron Lady, died this morning at the age of 87.

Her son, Sir Mark, and daughter Carol confirmed Thatcher's passing.

Margaret Thatcher Photo

Lord Bell, her longtime spokesman, said this morning:

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

Thatcher will go down in history not only as Britain's first female prime minister, but as the woman who transformed Britain economically and internationally.

She is perhaps the only British PM to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply.

Many features of the modern global economy - monetarism, privatization, deregulation, small government, low taxes and free trade - were all promoted by Thatcher.

As a result of policies she employed to reverse Britain’s economic decline, Thatcher sought to implement all of the above, and her legacy did not end there.

In America and in Europe she was regarded, alongside her friend Ronald Reagan, as one of the two great architects of the West’s victory in the Cold War.

Among British prime ministers, only Margaret Thatcher’s childhood hero, Winston Churchill, could claim a higher international reputation to this day.

Thatcher had become increasingly frail over the past decade after small strokes in 2001 and 2002. She also suffered from dementia in recent years.

Poor health prevented her attending an 85th birthday party arranged by PM David Cameron in 2010, and Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.

Revered by millions, Lady Thatcher published two volumes of memoirs since leaving office, as well as a magisterial volume on international affairs.

She is survived by her two children. Her husband, Sir Denis, died in 2003.

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