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Former British PM Thatcher Dead at 87

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87, following a stroke.

Family spokesman Lord Tim Bell said Britain's only female prime minister died peacefully on Monday morning.

Thatcher was a tough, outspoken woman who led the Conservative Party to three election victories from 1979 to 1990. That was the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century.

Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday his country had "lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton." Buckingham Palace said Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was saddened to hear of her death.

Known as the Iron Lady for her personal and political toughness, Mrs. Thatcher was a stern conservative who broke the power of British unions, eliminated many government subsidies and enabled a far greater role for private enterprise.

She led Britain through its 1982 war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, strongly opposed European integration and built a close "special relationship" with U.S. President Ronald Reagan that helped spur the downfall of Soviet communism.

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