Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dead

Margaret Thatcher, 87, died early on Monday following a stroke, her spokesman said.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:18 pm IST

Published - April 08, 2013 05:57 pm IST - London

In this May 31, 1983 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher makes a point during a Conservative Party news conference in London.

In this May 31, 1983 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher makes a point during a Conservative Party news conference in London.

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister who led the Conservative party for more than a decade through one of the most tumultuous periods in modern British history and became a deeply divisive political figure, died on Monday following a stroke.

She was 87 and was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Her son Mark and daughter Carol said in a statement that she died "peacefully".

In recent years, the "Iron Lady" of yesteryears had become a shadow of former herself and it was recently revealed that she "did not get" who David Cameron was when the Prime Minister’s name was mentioned at a party.

Over the past year, Baroness Thatcher had been in and out of hospital and had become so frail that her family moved her to a top-notch hotel where she could be looked after better.

Television channels went into a meltdown with wall-to-wall coverage of her death as the Queen led the tributes saying that she was ``sad’’ to hear the news and the Union Jack over No 10 Downing Street flew at half-mast.

But, perhaps, in a nod to her critics, among them millions of ordinary Britons whose lives were blighted by her free-market economic policies, it was announced that Baroness Thatcher would not get a state funeral.

Mr Cameron, who was in Madrid, returned to London. He described her as a "great prime minister and a great Briton".

"Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds… I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister," he said.

John Major, who succeeded her in 1990 after she was ousted from power following a bitter inter-party revolt, called her a "true force of nature" while Labour leader Ed Miliband, rising above political differences, described her as a "unique figure" who "reshaped the politics of a whole generation."

"The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength," he said.

Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 during Britain’s "winter of discontent" marked by a wave of strikes. A grocer’s daughter, who grew up in a small flat without hot water above her father's store in Grantham, east England, she rose to become one of the country’s most controversial but influential leaders whose legacy of ruthless privatization through the eighties still divides the country.

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