Margaret Thatcher, the most dominant British prime minister since Winston Churchill, died on Monday, her spokesman Lord Bell confirmed.
Her spokesman, Lord Bell, said on Monday: “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning. A further statement will be made later.”
Downing Street announced that she would receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral.
David Cameron, the current UK prime minister, who in the wake of the news cuts off his trip to Europe, said: “It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.”
He told reporters: “As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.”
Buckingham Palace reported the Queen was sad to hear the news and that she would be sending a her condolences to the family, The Guardian says.
Lady Thatcher became the first woman to be elected to lead a major western state and served 11 unbroken years at No 10. She was overthrown by an internal Tory party coup in 1990 after her reckless promotion of the poll tax led to rioting in Trafalgar Square.
The former UK prime minister had been in declining health for some years, suffering from dementia. The death of Sir Denis Thatcher, her husband, significantly worsened the state of her health, despite energetic worldwide activity in the early years.
After a series of mini-strokes in ten years ago Lady Thatcher withdrew from public life, as she was not able to make the kind of waspish pronouncements that had been her forte in office – and beyond.
Her death was greeted with tributes from across the political spectrum.
The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said: “Margaret Thatcher was one of the defining figures in modern British politics. Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no one can deny that as prime minister she left a unique and lasting imprint on the country she served.”
“She may have divided opinion during her time in politics but everyone will be united today in acknowledging the strength of her personality and the radicalism of her politics,” he added.
The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said: “Watching her set out to change Britain for the better in 1979 made me believe there was, at last, real purpose and real leadership in politics once again. She bestrode the political world like a colossus.”
Describing her as a political phenomenon, the former Tory prime minister Sir John Major said: “Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private.”
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Her memory will live long after the world has forgotten the grey suits of today’s politics.”