London: Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman prime minister who was admired as the “Iron Lady”, died Monday after suffering a stroke. She was 87, media reports said.
The Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 had been keeping away from public appearances because of poor health. The end came early in the morning.
Her spokesman Lord Bell said: “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announce that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning.”
Prime Minister David Cameron paid a glowing tribute.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher’s death,” he said. “We’ve lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.”
Thatcher was admitted to hospital shortly before Christmas and she underwent an operation to remove a growth from her bladder. She returned home before the new year, reported Sky News.
Born Margaret Roberts in 1925, she became the Conservative MP for Finchley in north London in 1959. After a long and eventful career, she finally retired from the Commons in 1992.
She successfully challenged former prime minister Edward Heath for her party’s leadership in 1975. She won general elections in 1979, 1983 and 1987.
She was in power when Britain went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982.
Thatcher has been credited with putting Britain back among the leading industrial nations of the world.