Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of Britain, died Monday morning after suffering a stroke, her family confirmed. 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, Lord Tim Bell, said in a statement (via the New York Times).
Thatcher’s health had deteriorated over the last 10 years, during which she had suffered multiple strokes. She also battled dementia, according to her daughter.
The controversial Conservative figure rose to power in 1979, and served as Britain’s Prime Minister for 11 years, until she was forced to resign in 1990. She was nicknamed the “Iron Lady,” due to her tough stances on economics and politics.
She famously forced striking coal miners back to work in 1984, and successfully guided Britain through a war with the Falklands two years prior.
Her life was recently portrayed in the 2011 biopic The Iron Lady, for which Meryl Streep received an Oscar.
Like many others, today Meryl Streep is remembering Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister who died at the age of 87.
The triple Oscar winner released the following statement following the former British Prime Minister’s passing:
“Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. I was honored to try to imagine her late life journey, after power; but I have only a glancing understanding of what her many struggles were, and how she managed to sail through to the other side. I wish to convey my respectful condolences to her family and many friends.”
And the world famous actress added that she believed Margaret Thatcher had proved to be a role model for women and girls around the world.
“To have come up, legitimately, through the ranks of the British political system, class bound and gender phobic as it was, in the time that she did and the way that she did, was a formidable achievement….To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable,” She stated.