Helen Thomas Dies; White House Journalist Was 92

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Helen Thomas’ death Saturday at the age of 92 resulted in an outpouring of tributes for the famed White House journalist who had become an institution.

H. Thomas

President Barack Obama said in a statement:

"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Helen Thomas. Helen was a true pioneer, opening doors and breaking down barriers for generations of women in journalism."

"She never failed to keep presidents - myself included - on their toes."

"What made Helen the 'Dean of the White House Press Corps' was not just the length of her tenure, but her fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account."

Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton said that Thomas was "a pioneering journalist" who added "more than her shares of cracks to the glass ceiling."

"Her work was extraordinary because of her intelligence, her lively spirit and great sense of humor, and most importantly her commitment to the role of a strong press in a healthy democracy," the Clintons said.

Female journalists took to Twitter to thank the woman who many said helped shatter the perception that political journalism was a profession only suited for men.

The Gridiron Club and Foundation, a journalistic organization in Washington, D.C., confirmed Thomas' passing to NBC News on Saturday.

Thomas died on Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness, the club said in a statement.

A former president of the Gridiron Club, Thomas broke a long line of all-male leadership when she was chosen for the position in 1993.

The journalist who scored a front-row seat at White House press briefings after years of reporting for wire services had been in and out of the hospital recently, friends told the AP.

The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Thomas had grown up in Detroit before moving to Washington, D.C., where she broke several barriers for female correspondents.

Known for her persistent style of questioning, Thomas was most recognized for her work with United Press International, and covered nine presidents over her long career.

She started as a copy girl at the Washington Daily News, moving to what was then called the United Press in 1943. She will be missed.

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