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Reagan Family 'Touched' by Expressions of Sympathy - 2004-06-06

The family of former President Ronald Reagan says it is "deeply touched" by expressions of sympathy that have come from around the world following Mr. Reagan's death Saturday. Funeral arrangements announced Sunday include a state funeral in Washington and a private burial in California.

Spokeswoman Joanne Drake said Mrs. Reagan and her family have received thousands of messages via telephone, fax and email, and have noted the tributes left at the family's Los Angeles home and other places associated with the former president.

She was asked if Mrs. Reagan would have anything to add to the family's written statement. "I think, 'Thank You.' It's been a really hard 10 years for her. She really appreciates the love and the prayers and the support that has been extended to her by so many people," she said.

Mr. Reagan, who served two terms as president in the 1980s, succumbed to pneumonia Saturday at age 93. His condition was complicated by a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Monday, his body will be transported to the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, north of Los Angeles, where members of the public can pay their respects.

Wednesday, the family will accompany Mr. Reagan's remains to Washington, D.C., for a state funeral in the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday evening. The body will lie in state there until Friday.

President Bush will speak at a funeral service Friday morning at Washington National Cathedral, and the Reagan family will return to California for a private interment at the Reagan Library Friday evening.

The family spokeswoman said Mr. Bush is among those who contacted Mrs. Reagan to express their condolences. "He extended his sympathies, of course, and I think she was just grateful for his offer of literally whatever she needed. He and Mrs. Bush would be there for her," she said.

Reading from the prepared statement, the spokeswoman said the Reagan family is in "deep mourning" over the loss of their husband, father and grandfather, a man they consider "their hero."