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Margaret Thatcher dies of stroke at age 87

Photo: Image by UK Telegraph

Margaret Thatcher dies of stroke at age 87

CREATED Apr 8, 2013 - UPDATED: Apr 8, 2013

Web Producer: Laura Kittell, Sara Wright

LONDON (KGUN9-TV) - Margaret Thatcher, the first woman ever to serve as prime minister of Great Britain and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, has died at age 87.

"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning," Lord Timothy Bell, her former adviser, said today. "A further statement will be made later."

Thatcher had significant health problems in her later years, suffering several small strokes and, according to her daughter, struggling with dementia.

In December 2012, she was underwent an operation to remove a bladder growth, longtime adviser Tim Bell told The Associated Press.

But during her long career on the political stage, Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady. She led Great Britain as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, a champion of free-market policies and adversary of the Soviet Union.

Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II was sad to hear the news of the death of Margaret Thatcher.
      
The palace said Monday that the queen will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.
   
Prime Minister David Cameron also expressed sadness, saying "we have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."

Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honors. Downing Street says Queen Elizabeth II has authorized a ceremonial funeral - a step short of a state funeral - to be held at St. Paul's Cathedral.
   
It says the funeral will be attended by a "wide and diverse range of people," and the service will be followed by a private cremation.
   
It did not provide further details on the timing of the service, saying only that the arrangement are "in line with the wishes" of Thatcher's family.