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Former United States president Ronald Reagan has died at the age of 93, after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

 

His wife, Nancy, and family members had gathered at his bedside at his house in Los Angeles.

 

The White House has confirmed that Mr Reagan died and that President George W Bush has been informed.

 

A White House spokeswoman says Fred Ryan, Mr Reagan's chief of staff in California, phoned the White House to inform Mr Bush.

 

Mr Reagan, a film star turned politician, was US president for two terms - from 1981 to 1989.

 

More than a decade after he left office, Mr Reagan remains an icon to the US Republican party and a hero to those Americans who remember him as the man who brought down the "Evil Empire".

 

Reagan was the quintessential Cold Warrior in foreign policy who defined his own domestic agenda, which became known as 'Reaganomics'.

 

Born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, to an alcoholic shoe salesman and a mother of strict Puritan upbringing, Mr Reagan earned a degree in economics and sociology from Eureka College in his home state.

 

He was student body president, captain of the swimming team and a member of the football team at the small college.

 

After serving in the Army, he worked as a sportscaster and announcer for a radio station in Davenport, Iowa.

 

He moved on to Hollywood, where he starred in 50 forgettable films, including Bedtime for Bonzo and Knute Rockne, All American, in which he played his most famous role, the college football hero known as 'The Gipper'.

 

In 1947, he was elected to the first of six terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, his first taste of politics.

 

Mr Reagan was a Democrat until 1962 but his political career took off as a Republican when he won election as California governor in 1966 and again 1970.

 

In 1976 he narrowly lost the Republican presidential nomination to Gerald Ford. Four years later he won the nomination and the presidency, trouncing incumbent Jimmy Carter by winning 43 of 50 states.

 

On March 30, 1981, barely two months after his inauguration, Mr Reagan was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt in Washington that left his press secretary, James Brady, permanently handicapped.

 

The assailant, John Hinckley, was later ordered confined to a mental institution.

 

A blot on his presidency was the scandal dubbed 'Irangate', involving the secret, illegal sale of US arms to Iran to help finance Nicaraguan contra rebels.

 

Reagan followers credit his tough stand against Moscow and his expensive arms build-up as responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

 

Mr Reagan's first marriage to Jane Wyman ended in divorce while he was still an actor in the 1940s.

 

They had two children, Maureen and Michael, who was adopted.

 

In 1952, he married actress Nancy Davis. They had two children, Patricia and Ronald.

 

-- Reuters/AFP

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Reagan, Thatcher Dominated 1980s Politics

By: JILL LAWLESS (Sat, Jun/05/2004)

 

 

LONDON - Ronald Reagan was president for eight of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's 11 years in office. He called her "one of my dearest friends." She once said he was "the second most important man in my life." She was the first foreign leader to visit him after his inauguration in 1981, and their strong rapport helped transform the world.

 

Both were conviction politicians, united in certainty about their anti-communist, free-market views.

 

Reagan, Thatcher once wrote approvingly, "did not suffer from the dismal plague of doubts which has assailed so many politicians in our times and which has rendered them incapable of clear decisions."

 

Their personal and political rapport helped their neo-conservative outlook triumph around the world during the 1980s as the Soviet Union crumbled.

 

In her memoir "The Downing Street Years," Thatcher recalled their first meeting in 1975, when she was leader of the Opposition and he was governor of California. She was won over by Reagan's "warmth, charm and complete lack of affectation - qualities which never altered in the years of leadership which lay ahead."

 

"Above all, I knew that I was talking to someone who instinctively felt and thought as I did," she added.

 

Thatcher biographer Hugo Young called their relationship "the most enduring personal alliance in the Western world throughout the 1980s."

 

Thatcher, Young noted in his biography "One of Us," "was a kind of Baptist to Reagan's Messiah."

 

Together, they boosted military spending, won the Cold War and championed low-tax, low-regulation economies.

 

The relationship flourished despite the leaders' differences. She was a workaholic who immersed herself in the details of policy and slept less than six hours a night; he was laid-back, concerned with the big picture but happy to delegate responsibility for the details.

 

They had disagreements, notably over her refusal to negotiate with Argentina during the 1982 Falkland Islands war and over the U.S. invasion of Grenada a year later.

 

During the Falkland war, Reagan called to ask for a cease-fire. Thatcher refused.

 

"This conversation was a little painful at the time but it had a worthwhile effect," she wrote.

 

Thatcher also said she felt "dismayed and let down" by the 1983 U.S. invasion of Granada, which ended a left-wing coup in the former British colony.

 

But their deep friendship endured, even after both left office. In 1999, Thatcher said she was sad she could no longer share talks with the Alzheimer's-afflicted former president.

 

Thatcher is now 78, and frail after a series of small strokes. She rarely appears in public.

 

In 1995, she said she was confident history would be kind to her legacy - and to Reagan's.

 

"I believe when historians get down to their serious work, which will be long after I have finished with mine, they will judge that decade very favorably in both countries," she said.

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A chronology of Reagan's life

 

Key dates in life of Ronald Reagan.

 

Feb. 6, 1911: Born in Tampico, Ill., younger of two sons of Nellie and John Reagan.

 

1932: Graduates from Eureka College, Eureka, Ill.

 

1932-1937: Works as radio announcer at WOC, Davenport, Iowa, and then WHO, Des Moines.

 

1937: Makes film debut with "Love Is on the Air."

 

Jan. 26, 1940: Marries Jane Wyman, actress. Children: Maureen, born 1941, Michael, born 1945, and Christine, born four months premature in 1947 and died the next day. Marriage ends in divorce in 1949.

 

1940: Plays "the Gipper" in "Knute Rockne: All-American," one of his best-known roles.

 

1942-45: Serves war effort by making air force training films.

 

1947: Becomes president of the Screen Actors Guild.

 

March 4, 1952. Marries Nancy Davis, actress. Children: Patti, born 1952, and Ronald, born 1958.

 

1952, 1956, 1960: Though a Democrat, campaigns for Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon. Formally switches to Republican Party in 1962.

 

1954-62: Works as host and performer on General Electric Theater, tours as speaker for GE.

 

Oct. 27, 1964: Gives influential speech in favor of GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.

 

Nov. 8, 1966: Elected California governor over incumbent Democrat Edmund G. "Pat" Brown.

 

1968: Makes last-minute bid for Republican presidential nomination.

 

Nov. 3, 1970: Elected to second term as governor.

 

1976: Challenges President Ford unsuccessfully in the Republican primaries.

 

Nov. 4, 1980: Elected president over incumbent Jimmy Carter, garnering 51.6 percent of the popular vote to 41.7 percent for Carter and 6.7 percent for independent John Anderson.

 

Jan. 20, 1981: Sworn in as 40th president of the United States. Iranian hostages released.

 

March 30, 1981: Wounded by one of six shots fired as he left a Washington hotel after giving a speech.

 

June 5, 1981: The AIDS crisis begins when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports five gay men in Los Angeles are suffering from a rare pneumonia.

 

July 7, 1981: Announces he is nominating Arizona judge Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

August 1981: Fires more than 11,000 air traffic controllers after they go out on strike against the Federal Aviation Administration.

 

Oct. 23, 1983: 241 U.S. Marines and sailors are killed in a suicide truck-bombing in Lebanon.

 

Oct. 25, 1983: U.S. troops invade island of Grenada after a leftist coup there.

 

Nov. 6, 1984: Re-elected, besting former Vice President Walter Mondale with nearly 60 percent of the popular vote. He took 49 out of 50 states for an Electoral College vote of 525-13, the most lopsided since Franklin Roosevelt defeated Alf Landon in 1936.

 

May 5, 1985: Visits German military cemetery at Bitburg as a gesture of reconciliation, inciting worldwide protests because 49 of Adolf Hitler's dreaded Waffen SS troops are buried there.

 

July 13, 1985: Undergoes successful surgery for colon cancer.

 

Nov. 19-21, 1985: Summit in Geneva with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan calls it a "fresh start" in U.S.-Soviet relations.

 

April 15, 1986: United States launches an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin 10 days earlier. Libya says 37 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

 

Oct. 11-12, 1986: Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on arms reduction, U.S. strategic defense initiative or "Star Wars."

 

November 1986: The Iran-Contra affair becomes public. White House admits selling arms to Iran but denies it sold arms for hostages. Later in the month, Reagan announces aide Oliver North has been fired and national security adviser John Poindexter has resigned. It is disclosed that up to $30 million in arms-sale profits were diverted to Nicaraguan rebels, known as the Contras.

 

March 4, 1987: Reagan acknowledges in a televised speech that his Iranian initiative deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages deal, saying, "It was a mistake."

 

Oct. 23, 1987: Senate rejects Reagan's nomination of Robert H. Bork for the Supreme Court.

 

Dec. 8-10, 1987: Summit in Washington. Reagan, Gorbachev sign treaty to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear forces, but disagreement over Star Wars blocks progress on a strategic arms reduction treaty.

 

May 29-June 2, 1988: Summit in Moscow. Reagan, Gorbachev exchange ratified texts of the INF treaty, discuss strategic and conventional arms and stroll in Red Square.

 

Nov. 8, 1988: Reagan's vice president, George H.W. Bush, defeats Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis for the presidency.

 

Dec. 7, 1988: Summit in New York City. Gorbachev's plan to reduce Soviet armed forces is discussed. President-elect Bush takes part.

 

January 1989: Returns to California after second term ends.

 

November 1990: Publishes his memoir, "An American Life."

 

Nov. 4, 1991: Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., dedicated; with President Bush and former Presidents Reagan, Carter, Ford and Nixon in attendance.

 

Nov. 5, 1994: Discloses he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

 

Jan. 12, 2001: Breaks his hip in a fall at his home.

 

March 4, 2001: Christening of the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan.

 

Aug. 8, 2001: Daughter Maureen dies of cancer.

 

Oct. 11, 2001: Becomes the longest-lived president ever, having lived 33,120 days. The nation's second chief executive, John Adams, lived 33,119 days, from 1735 to 1826.

 

July 12, 2003: U.S. Navy commissions its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, the first carrier to be named for a living president.

 

June 5, 2004: Reagan dies at 93.

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Best thing the man did was make it ok to take pride in our country again. RIP

Definitely one of the best, but, he did many. He will be missed.

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johnh Posted on June 05 2004,18:18

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Best thing the man did was make it ok to take pride in our country again. RIP

 

Absolutely correct , he made all the Vietnam vets happy and at peace! I was a U.S.Marine when Reagan was President , he was tops , everyone was happy being in the military then , Reagan not only increased the arms in our contry but , he increased our salarys as well!

 

And as Johnh has said , he made us feel proud to be Americans . He was great man!

 

Semper Fidelis Mr President!

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On Sunday June 13th,2004, The Arizona Stray Feathers Tribe is holding our 2nd annual Flag Day Run, to HONOR our Government and Armed Forces. We will DEDICATE this ride in HONOR of the memory of former President Reagan by wearing black arm bands. We hope other Chapters and members will join us by doing the same thing in thier area.

 

God Bless Mr. Reagan

And God Bless America

 

 

Braveheart

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I remember not only President Reagan, but I remember him as Governor Reagan also. At the time I was opposed to his policies. He was raising the cost of my tuition in the California colleges at the time. I distinctly remember my father (RIP) and me debating my wishes to demonstrate against him at the time, something my father convinced me would not be a good thing. I also remember how much pride I took in having him as president, especially after he was there to help crumble the Berllin Wall. I guess it goes to show that ideoligies can change, and he helped change mine to something I am proud of. I also feel a great loss of this man, as we shared the same birthday, February the 6th, something I later took pride in.

 

Rest in peace President Reagan, I will surely miss you, as I have my other heros, Mickey Mantle, Roy Rogers, Joe DiMaggio, and you.

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Not only has this Nation lost the best President She ever had, but we also lost a good friend.  My prayers go out to the entire Reagan Family...

Rosie

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