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Former First Lady Nancy Reagan Dies at 94

Posted at 8:48 AM, Mar 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-06 13:14:55-05

Nancy Davis Reagan, wife of the late President Ronald Reagan, died Sunday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94.

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The former first lady will perhaps be best remembered for her loyalty to her husband. She became fiercely protective of him after a 1981 assassination attempt, and later stood by him as Alzheimer's disease overtook him in his last years.

In a 1998 Vanity Fair article, she vocalized this loyalty: "When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it's true. It did," she said.

During her White House years, she sponsored a major drug prevention crusade aimed at children and young adults. She toured the U.S. and other nations as part of her "Just Say No" campaign, traveling almost 250,000 miles.

As the first lady from 1981 to 1989, Reagan endured criticism for bringing high fashion and a lavish lifestyle to the White House in a time of recession.

Some critics called her "Queen Nancy." After her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994, Reagan became an outspoken advocate for Alzheimer's research and formed the Ronald & Nancy Reagan Research Institute in Chicago the following year.

Reagan, who died of congestive heart failure, will be buried next to her late husband at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.