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March 2016
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Nancy Reagan

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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.

Nancy Reagan often said, “My life didn’t really begin until I met Ronnie.” She will be buried beside him on a hilltop at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. There, at the president’s funeral in June 2004, much of the world watched the tearful widow lean over his coffin to say farewell as the sun set over Simi Valley.

Gone was the so-called ‘dragon lady’ whom her press secretary, Sheila Tate, said could make the most powerful White House aide shake with fear. Nearly forgotten were the closets of designer gowns and cabinets of expensive china that she preferred, and for which she was criticized. Even her unblinking gaze of connubial adoration — The Gaze, reporters called it — that so annoyed feminists seemed forgiven.

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