The Iron Lady, 1925 - 2013

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Dies at 87

The U.K.'s first ever female prime minister, in power for eleven years, has passed away following a stroke; PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Thatcher was a staunch friend of Israel and the Jewish people.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died early Monday following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said.

"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning," Lord Tim Bell said.

"Today I mourn the passing of Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. "She was truly a great leader, a woman of principle, of determination, of conviction, of strength; a woman of greatness. She was a staunch friend of Israel and the Jewish people. She inspired a generation of political leaders. I send my most sincere condolences to her family and to the government and people of Great Britain."

"Lady Thatcher was an extraordinary leader, a true friend of Israel and a personal friend of mine," Said President Shimon Peres. "She stood by us in times of crisis and used her influence and power to help us make peace."

"Margaret Thatcher was a leader, who led Britain according to her beliefs," Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said. "One can disagree with her economic worldview, but you have to respect the way she carried herself in the male-dominated politics."

"We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton," British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement shortly after a spokesman for the Thatcher family broke the news. He also announced he would be cutting his trip in Europe short to return to Britain.

Queen Elizabeth also expressed sadness and said she would be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso expressed sadness on Monday at Thatcher's death, describing her as a "great stateswoman" and a "circumspect yet engaged player" in the European Union.

"She will be remembered both for her contributions and reserves to our common project," Barroso said.

"She was a leading player also in bringing into the European family the Central and Eastern European countries," he said.
"Her legacy has done much to shape the United Kingdom as we know it today, including the special role of the UK in the European Union that endures to this day," Barroso added.

Britain's only female prime minister, the tough, outspoken Thatcher, led the Conservatives to three election victories, governing from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century. 

Moshe Milner / GPO