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Maureen Reagan Had 'Unique Bond' With her Father - 2001-08-08

Maureen Reagan, the daughter of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, died Wednesday morning near Sacramento, California at the age of 60 after a five year battle with skin cancer.

Ms. Reagan was the oldest of four children of the former president, born in 1941 to Mr. Reagan and his first wife, the actress Jane Wyman.

In Los Angeles, former first lady Nancy Reagan issued a statement noting a "unique bond" between the former president and his daughter. The statement said "Maureen had his gift of communication, his love of politics, and when she believed in a cause, she was not afraid to fight hard for it."

Maureen Reagan campaigned for her father when he was running for president in 1980, and she later served a two year term as co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

She was unsuccessful in two bids for public office, losing the Republican Party nomination for a California senate seat in 1982, and 10 years later the nomination for a seat in Congress.

She was active in women's causes. In 1985, Maureen Reagan chaired the U.S. delegation to the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women, and later served as U.S. representative to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.

In 1994, family members revealed that former President Reagan suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and Maureen Reagan became a national spokeswoman for the Alzheimer's Association.

In that capacity, she traveled around the country and gave testimony in Congress on the debilitating mental condition. "It is an equal opportunity disease and it doesn't make special arrangements for former presidents or first ladies," she told lawmakers.

Ms. Reagan was diagnosed with malignant melanoma five years ago, and also became a spokeswoman for victims of melanoma.

Ms. Reagan made regular visits to her ailing father in Los Angeles, and remained close to her stepmother, Nancy Reagan.

Maureen Reagan died near Sacramento with family members at her side. They included her husband, Dennis Revell, and her daughter, Rita, 16, a Ugandan girl the couple adopted in 1995.