Former first lady Nancy Reagan’s life was remembered and celebrated after news of her death Sunday.
The wife of Ronald Reagan, the nation’s 40th president, died of congestive heart failure at her home in Los Angeles, a spokeswoman said in a formal statement. She was 94.
Here are just some of the initial remembrances of Nancy Reagan:
“Ronald Reagan could not have accomplished everything that he did without his wife Nancy,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement. adding:
As first lady, she brought a sense of grace and dignity to the White House. She roused the country to redouble the fight against drugs. And she showed us all the meaning of devotion as she cared for President Reagan throughout his long goodbye. She loved her husband, and she loved her country. This was her service. It was her way of giving back. And all of us are very grateful. So on behalf of the entire House, I wish to extend our condolences to the Reagan family and offer our prayers on the passing of a great American, Nancy Reagan.
“As first lady she added glamour and style to the role,” Edward J. Rollins, a Fox News contributor and former assistant to President Reagan, wrote on FoxNews.com. “She was an extraordinary hostess and restored a dignity to the White House. She always felt it was the people’s house, and it deserved to be treated with the respect it deserved.”
“In many ways the Reagan love story was classic Hollywood, but it was unmistakably human too,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said in a statement. He added:
Hands intertwined, Nancy and Ron rose to the pinnacle of political power, weathered cancer and personal heartbreak, and braved the depths of Alzheimer’s cold embrace—always together. I know every American felt Nancy’s immense pain when she, kissing Ronnie’s casket, mouthed a tearful farewell to the best friend she once said she couldn’t imagine life without.
“Nancy Reagan championed families, faith and America,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. “She helped make President Reagan successful, and her crusade to ‘Just Say No’ to illicit drugs and all the devastation they brought to families triggered a very important national discussion. She also joined millions of families who endure the heartbreak and loss of a loved one struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.”
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama offered their condolences in a statement from the White House:
Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice.
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 we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.
“Nancy Reagan touched the heart of our nation,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said. “Her character, her efforts, and her example made the world a better place.”
“I remember Nancy as a noble woman who supported President Reagan and stood by his side,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “She will be remembered as a great friend of the State of Israel.”
“Laura and I are saddened by the loss of former First Lady Nancy Reagan,” former President George W. Bush, whose father served two terms as Reagan’s vice president, said. 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. During her time as first lady and since, she raised awareness about drug abuse and breast cancer. When we moved into the White House, we benefited from her work to make those historic rooms beautiful. Laura and I are grateful for the life of Nancy Reagan, and we send our condolences to the entire Reagan family.