Margaret Thatcher dead - New York News

Margaret Thatcher dies

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(AP Photo/ File) (AP Photo/ File)

Former British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher has died.

"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning," Thatcher spokesperson Lord Bell said in a statement.

Current Prime Minister, David Cameron, paid tribute saying: "It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton."

Thatcher was the British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.

The country's first female prime minister, re-made Britain's economic landscape after coming into office in 1979 with a free-market philosophy and the goal of privatizing state industries. And she would wage some hard-nosed battles with the country's labor unions.

Her influence was felt long after she left office in 1990. Tony Blair, whose Labor Party languished in opposition as the Conservative Thatcher held power for more than a decade, ended up adopting many of her views.

Thatcher's forceful personality and hard-driving style earned her the nickname of the "Iron Lady." It was a term that was reinforced when she led Britain into war against Argentina in 1982 after the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands. She forced them to retreat.

In 1984, she escaped a brush with terrorism. An I-R-A bomb exploded in a hotel hosting the annual conference of the Conservative Party. It narrowly missed Thatcher, but killed five others.

The badly-divided Conservatives eventually pushed her from power in 1990, and the party has struggled since then to regain its footing.

In her later years, she grew frail after a series of small strokes, and gave up most public speaking on the advice of her doctors.

Thatcher was 87 years old.

The Associated Press posted some memorable quotes from her life:

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"If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." - May 20, 1965, speech to National Union of Townswomen's Guilds Conference.

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"There are dangers in consensus: It could be an attempt to satisfy people holding no particular views about anything. ... No great party can survive except on the basis of firm beliefs about what it wants to do." — Oct. 10, 1968, at the Conservative Party conference.

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"Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you tonight in my red chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved ... the Iron Lady of the Western World. Me? A Cold War warrior? Well, yes — if that is how they wish to interpret my defense of values of freedoms fundamental to our way of life." — Jan. 31, 1976.

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"You turn if you want to; the lady's not for turning." — Oct. 10, 1980, at the Conservative Party Conference.

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"When you've spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands." — May 14, 1982, commenting on the Falkland Islands war.

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"We fought to show that aggression does not pay and that the robber cannot be allowed to get away with his swag. We fought with the support of so many throughout the world. ... Yet we also fought alone." — July 3, 1982, on the Falkland Islands war.

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"I was asked whether I was trying to restore Victorian values. I said straight out I was. And I am." — July 21, 1983, speech to British Jewish Community.

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"There is no week, nor day, nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. Tyranny may always enter — there is no charm or bar against it." — July 19, 1984, during the coal miners' strike.

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"We can do business together." — Dec. 17, 1984, speaking of the Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

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"There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families." Oct. 31, 1987, magazine interview.

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"We are a grandmother." — March 3, 1989, announcing the birth of her first grandchild.

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"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing." — May 3, 1989, commenting on her 10th anniversary as prime minister.

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"I am not immortal, but I've got a lot left in me yet." — Sept. 9, 1990.

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"I cannot imagine how any diplomat, or any dramatist, could improve on (Ronald Reagan's) words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit: 'Let me tell you why it is we distrust you.' Those words are candid and tough and they cannot have been easy to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to a new beginning and a new relationship that would be rooted in trust." — June 11, 2004, eulogy at the funeral of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

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