Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
has died following a stroke, a spokesman for the family announced Monday.
"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning," Lord Tim Bell said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron
said on Monday it was with great sadness he had learnt of the death of Margaret Thatcher, his predecessor as Conservative leader and prime minister who ruled from 1979 to 1990.
"We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton," Cameron said in a statement shortly after a spokesman for the Thatcher family said the former prime minister had died peacefully following a stroke.
Queen Elizabeth also expressed sadness and said she would be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “I mourn the passing of the Baroness Margaret Thatcher. She was a great leader, a steadfast friend of Israel and the Jewish people."
“She provided inspiration for a generation of political leaders. I send my condolences to her family, the government and the British people,” he added.
President Shimon Peres also addressed Thatcher's death. "There are people and there are ideals, sometimes they come together. She was a loyal friend of Israel. Her death is a loss to the political world," he said.
Peres said Thatcher had played a key role in the peace process with the Jordanians: “She acted to bring us closer and did it intelligently, faithfully and reliably. Both and I the king of Jordan knew she could be trusted.”
Britain's only woman prime minister, the tough, outspoken Thatcher, 87, led the Conservative Party to three election victories, governing from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British
prime minister since the early 19th century.
journalist called her the "Iron Lady", a nickname which became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style.
As Prime Minister, she implemented Conservative policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.
Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley in 1959. In 1975 Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom.
Thatcher became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election. Thatcher's popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until economic recovery and the 1982 Falklands War
brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983.
Thatcher was toppled from the Conservative Party leadership position in 1990 and was replaced as Prime Minister and party leader by Chancellor John Major.
Thatcher returned to the backbenches as MP for Finchley for two years after leaving the premiership. She retired from the House at the 1992 election, aged 66, saying that leaving the Commons would allow her more freedom to speak her mind.
Atilla Somfalvi, Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to the report
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop