Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said she is "terribly saddened" by the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and described her as a "true champion of freedom and democracy."
In a statement released Monday, Nancy Reagan acknowledged the "very special relationship" between Thatcher and her husband, the late President Ronald Reagan.
Their relationship was developed "as leaders of their respective countries during one of the most difficult and pivotal periods in modern history," the statement said.
PHOTOS: Margaret Thatcher | 1925 - 2013
"Ronnie and Margaret were political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end Communism," Nancy Reagan said. "As prime minister, Margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to 'rock the boat.'"
"The United States knew Margaret as a spirited and courageous ally, and the world owes her a debt of gratitude," the statement said.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in Simi Valley is hosting a small photo exhibit on the relationship between the two leaders. Members of the public can also sign a condolence book.
Thatcher, who became Britain's first female prime minister, died at age 87.
The BBC read a statement early Monday afternoon from Thatcher's friend and former advisor, Tim Bell, saying: "It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announce that their mother, Baroness Thatcher, died peacefully following a stroke this morning."
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