Nancy Reagan, Former First Lady, Dies at Age 94
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has died at the age of 94.
According to a statement from the Reagan Presidential Library, she passed away early Sunday morning at her home in Belair, California, from congestive heart failure.
The statement said she will be buried at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. A date will be announced for a public memorial.
Married to Ronald Reagan in 1952, Nancy was born in New York City in 1921 and was raised in Chicago. She graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts in 1943 and began a career as an actress with MGM. Her last film was the 1956 film "Hellcats of the Navy" in which she appeared with husband Ronald according to her official biography by the Reagan Library.
While First Lady of California she was active with the Foster Grandparents program and continued to help expand the program from the White House after the election of her husband as President of the United States in 1980. She headed up the fight against drug and alcohol abuse during among youth. After the Reagan presidency, she established the Nancy Reagan Foundation to continue her campaign to educate people about the serious dangers of substance abuse. She spent 10 years caring for her husband as battled Alzheimer's Disease until his death in 2004.
She was also an early advocate of a Chris Christie presidency and invited him to deliver a speech on leadership at the Reagan Library in 2011. "It’s a great recognition of his accomplishments so far that Nancy Reagan invited him personally. It speak volumes," political advisor Bill Palatucci told NJ.com at the time.
In a statement Sunday afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie said Reagan "embodied grace and poise."
"Nancy Reagan was the rock behind one of the greatest leaders of our time. She was her husband's greatest source of strength through the toughest decisions he made as president. She embodied grace and poise for generations of Americans. In true Nancy Reagan fashion, she became a crusader in the battle against the disease that ultimately took President Reagan's life, Alzheimer's. It was a great honor for me and Mary Pat to be welcomed by her to the Reagan Library in 2011 and it will be a memory we will always treasure. The nation will truly miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Reagan family."
As news of her death spread, political officials began posting messages to social media about the former First Lady and wife of late President Ronald Reagan.
Toniann Antonelli contributed to this report.