Betty Ford, the former First Lady of the United States, has died at the age of 93. According to CNN, a family member dished on that the widow of late President Gerald Ford passed away on Friday evening, July 8 with family at her bedside.
The news organization further reported that the death of the co-founder of Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, California has been confirmed by the director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. The cause of her death and other details were not immediately available.
Soon after news of her passing broke, condolences began pouring in. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said in a statement, "She has been an inspiration to so many through her efforts to educate women about breast cancer and her wonderful work at the Betty Ford Center."
The widow of late President Ronald Reagan continued, "She was Jerry Ford's strength through some very difficult days in our country's history, and I admired her courage in facing and sharing her personal struggles with all of us." She added, "My love and deepest sympathy go out to the entire Ford family at this very sad time."
Former President George H.W. Bush said he and wife Barbara "loved Betty Ford very much". He went on to describe her as "a wonderful wife and mother; a great friend; and a courageous First Lady," adding "No one confronted life's struggles with more fortitude or honesty, and as a result, we all learned from the challenges she faced."
His son George W. Bush also expressed his admiration of Betty. In his statement, the former U.S. President said, "She made countless contributions to our country, and we especially appreciate her courage in calling attention to breast cancer and substance abuse. Because of her leadership, many lives were saved."
Betty Ford served as the First Lady from 1974 - 1977. She helped founded the Betty Ford Clinic after she herself overcame alcoholism and an addiction to pills. A survivor of breast cancer, she went to become one of the earliest advocates for breast cancer awareness. She leaves behind four children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.