“I was deeply saddened this afternoon when I heard of Betty Ford’s death,” another former first lady, Nancy Reagan, said in a statement confirming Ford’s death.
Betty Ford has inspired millions of Americans through her fight against cancer and her commitment to the people dependent on drugs and alcohol.
The couple married in 1948, the same year that Mr. Ford was elected to Congress. Betty Ford has been under the spotlight when her husband became president after the resignation of Richard Nixon.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer a few weeks later, and has earned the praise of many Americans for her frankness and courage.
In 1976, Gerald R. Ford lost the presidency in favor of Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Mrs. Ford then had to be treated for addiction to drugs and alcohol and was instrumental in the establishment of a center that bears her name to help people with these problems.