President Obama leads tributes to Nancy Reagan

Gemma Strong

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have paid tribute to Nancy Reagan, following her death at the age of 94. In a statement, the couple honoured Nancy's legacy, and thanked her for her generosity and her sage advice. "Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right of course," the couple said. "But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice."

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President Obama and his wife Michelle have led the tributes to Nancy Reagan

"Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here. 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."

"We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan's life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again."

Nancy passed away in LA on Sunday from congestive heart failure at the age of 94. From 1981 until 1989 she was one of the most influential first ladies in US history; initially criticised for an expensive renovation of the White House, but later becoming a much-loved figure.

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Nancy was married to Ronald Reagan for 52 years before his death in June 2004

Her 52-year marriage to Ronald Reagan was once described as the US presidency's greatest love affairs. She will be buried next to her husband, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, it has been confirmed.

Among those also paying their respects to Nancy – who, like her husband was once a Hollywood performer - was former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is a Democratic presidential hopeful. "Nancy was an extraordinary woman: a gracious first lady, proud mother and devoted wife to President Reagan - her Ronnie," they said.

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The former First Lady saying goodbye to her beloved husband at his funeral

Former President George W Bush added: "Mrs Reagan was fiercely loyal to her beloved husband and that devotion was matched only by her devotion to our country. Her influence on the White House was complete and lasting."

Stepson Michael Reagan, meanwhile, tweeted: "I am saddened by the passing of my stepmother Nancy Reagan... She is once again with the man she loved. God bless..."