Former first lady Nancy Reagan dies at 94 in California

Former first lady Nancy Reagan has died at 94 in Bel-Air, California.

Assistant Allison Borio says Mrs. Reagan died Sunday at her home of congestive heart failure.

Her marriage to Ronald Reagan lasted 52 years until his death in 2004.

A former actress, she was Reagan’s closest adviser and fierce protector on his journey from actor to governor of California to president of the United States.

She rushed to his side after he was shot in 1981 by a would-be assassin, and later endured his nearly decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. In recent years she broke with fellow Republicans in backing stem cell research as a way to possibly find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker released a statement:  “Tonette and I send our prayers to the Reagan family.  Nancy Reagan had such a positive impact on the lives of so many Americans. Tonette and I had the honor of meeting her in California when I spoke at the Reagan Presidential Library in 2012.  She was so interested in Wisconsin and she loved hearing of the influence her husband had on me.  She will be missed by me and so many others – across America and around the world.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar issued the following statement on the passing of Former First Lady Nancy Reagan: “I was saddened to hear about the passing of Former First Lady Nancy Reagan. She served admirably as First Lady. Later, when her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she fought to advance the progress of research on that disease and was a strong advocate for innovative medical research for cures and new treatments for all diseases. We can ensure that Mrs. Reagan’s legacy lives on by carrying on this advocacy. I send my condolences to her family and many friends.”