Former first lady Nancy Reagan, the indispensable partner and protector of the nation’s 40th president who became a fierce advocate in the fight against the disease that stole him from her, has died, the Reagan Library announced on Sunday. She was 94.
“Her romance with Ronald Reagan was a storybook love story,” said historian Douglas Brinkley, editor of The Reagan Diaries. “She is the one who deserves credit for orchestrating the great legacy that is Ronald Reagan.”
“She was a true partner to the presidency,” Anita McBride, a chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush, said in an interview Sunday with CNN.
In a statement, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama said they were “fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice” when they arrived at the White House.
“Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here,” they wrote. “Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.”