Margaret Thatcher, the conservative British Prime Minister known as the "Iron Lady" has died following a stroke, her spokesman said. She was 87.
"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning," her spokesman said in a statement.
Thatcher was the first woman elected prime minister, a post she held from 1979 to 1990.
Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement posted on Twitter, "It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."
The BBC quoted a Buckingham Palace statement as saying, "The queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family."
Thatcher, born Margaret Roberts, was the first person to win a third term to the post since the 19th century and held the job longer than anyone in the 20th century.
In the national election held June 11, 1987, Thatcher's Conservative Party scored its second-largest Parliamentary majority since World War II.
Thatcher, a grocer's daughter who became a world figure, changed the course of British government and rekindled her country's international prestige.
Her first eight years as prime minister, she claimed, "made Britain great again."
She announced her resignation from office Nov. 22, 1990, while she was under fire within her own Conservative Party for her opposition to greater European Community integration on Britain's part.
Her final term in office was plagued by several woes, including her support for an unpopular poll tax put into effect April 1, 1990 a move that sparked riots in London rising unemployment and inflation, the Persian Gulf crisis and her policy toward the EC.
Late in 1990, after falling short of the needed majority to win the Tory leadership race and under criticism from fellow Conservatives, Thatcher announced she would resign. She was succeeded as prime minister by John Major, Britain's 47-year-old chancellor of the Exchequer.
The strong-willed Conservative Party chief led Britain to victory over Argentina in the 1982 Falklands War. And she fought for the deployment of U.S. missiles in Europe, a move that paved the way for a possible U.S.-Soviet arms reduction agreement.
On the domestic front, Thatcher governments carried out a sweeping denationalization of industry and services, curbed the power of left-wing labor unions and used prudent public spending to tame inflation.
The blond mother of two was first elected to Downing Street during the 1979 "winter of discontent," when under a Labor Party government, unions unleashed a wave of strikes that left garbage uncollected and the dead unburied.
The self-admitted workaholic soon embarked on her policy of what she called "popular capitalism" and what others referred to as "Thatcherism." She became a close friend of Ronald Reagan and met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as the most senior Western European leader.
But the social cost of the Thatcher policies has been high and her style was considered by some Britons to be domineering and uncaring. Under Thatcher, unemployment soared from 1.2 million to more than 3 million, or 11 percent of
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