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Nancy Reagan: Condolences Pour in for 'Tower of Strength' First Lady

The news of Nancy Reagan's death Sunday morning brought a flood of tributes, condolences and reminiscence.
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The news of Nancy Reagan's death Sunday at the age of 94 brought a flood of tributes, condolences and reminiscences.

Many noted the substantial impact she left on the country and the world, and the deep commitment and love shared between the former first lady and her late husband, President Ronald Reagan.

“Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice,” President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama said in a statement.

“We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan's life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again,” the first couple said.

"Nancy Reagan defined grace, courage, and loyalty. An accomplished actress, First Lady of California, and First Lady of the United States, she understood public service is a noble endeavor," said Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden in a statement.

"And together, she and our 40th president gave meaning to a poet's words: Come live with me and be my love/And we will all the pleasures prove," the Bidens said. "Nancy and Ronald Reagan proved those pleasures for more than half a century. They are now together to prove them once again."

Photo Gallery: Nancy Reagan's Life From Hollywood to the White House

"My mother had been in poor health for quite a while, and recently had gotten markedly worse, so this wasn’t a surprise. That said, death always feels like a surprise," said Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, 63. She thanked those who offered condolences, and said the family would honor her mother publicly and then move on to grieving privately.

Reagan's son, Ron Reagan, 57, said his mother "was a woman who was totally dedicated to her husband."

"She loved her husband more than anything in the world," Ron Reagan said on TODAY. "He meant everything to her."

"The Ronald Reagan that we all came to know would not have existed without Nancy Reagan," he added.

"I am saddened by the passing of my step mother Nancy Reagan ... She is once again with the man she loved. God Bless," wrote Ronald Reagan's adopted son, Michael Reagan, 70.

Former President George W. Bush lauded Reagan's work to raise awareness about drug abuse and breast cancer. "Mrs. Reagan was fiercely loyal to her beloved husband, and that devotion was matched only by her devotion to our country. Her influence on the White House was complete and lasting," he said in a statement.

His mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, said Reagan was "totally devoted" to her husband.

"We take comfort that they will be reunited once more," Bush said. "George and I send our prayers and condolences to her family.”

President Bill Clinton said he and Hillary Clinton were "deeply saddened" to hear of Reagan's death. "Nancy was an extraordinary woman: a gracious First Lady, proud mother, and devoted wife to President Reagan—her Ronnie," Clinton wrote. "Her strength of character was legendary, particularly when tested by the attempted assassination of the President, and throughout his battle with Alzheimer's."

"My thoughts & prayers are with Nancy Reagan's family and friends. Very sad to learn of her passing," Chelsea Clinton tweeted.

President Jimmy Carter said: "Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. She will always be admired for her strength of conviction and her lifelong devotion to her husband."

President Richard Nixon's daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon, said Reagan was "a constant source of support for our parents and our family."

"Her love for her husband and our nation endeared her to people of all walks of life, while her crusade against drugs and dedication to bettering the lives of young people everywhere changed millions of lives," they said.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Reagan left an "indelible impression" on the country. "President Reagan was one of our country’s greatest optimists, whose courage and foresight helped win the Cold War, and Nancy was his partner and confidante, helping guide him through his years in public office and beyond," he said in a statement.

"No matter your party or political ideology, this is a sad day for America," said Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. "Nancy Reagan was an exemplary first lady. ... Nancy Reagan had a good heart, and she will be dearly missed."

"Nancy Reagan, the wife of a truly great President, was an amazing woman. She will be missed," said GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said the Reagan family was in his prayers. "Nancy Reagan will be remembered for her deep passion for this nation and love for her husband, Ronald," he said.

"President Reagan has been reunited with his wife and partner but America and the Reagan family have lost a woman of grace and strength," said Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich. "Nancy Reagan's dedication to our country was matched only by that of her husband. Theirs was one of our nation's great love stories and a model of shared devotion to our country. America is stronger and better for their service."

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said Reagan was "a true example of integrity and grace."

New Jersey Gov. and former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said Reagan "embodied grace and poise for generations of Americans."

"Nancy Reagan was the rock behind one of the greatest leaders of our time. She was her husband's greatest source of strength through the toughest decisions he made as president," Christie said.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said even those who weren't "Reagan Republicans" admired and respected the former first lady. "She was a tower of strength alongside her husband, had strong beliefs, and was not afraid to chart her own course politically."

"She persuaded her husband to support the Brady Law, and their advocacy was instrumental in helping us pass it," Schumer said, referring to the pivotal gun safety measure.

Former Republican presidential candidate — and recent newsmaker arguing for bringing class back to politics — Mitt Romney said in a statement that Reagan's passing marked the end of "the days of Ronald Reagan."

"With charm, grace, and a passion for America, this couple reminded us of the greatness and the endurance of the American experiment," Romney said. "God and Ronnie have finally welcomed a choice soul home."

"Ronald Reagan could not have accomplished everything that he did without his wife Nancy," said House Speaker Paul Ryan. "She loved her husband, and she loved her country. This was her service. It was her way of giving back. And all of us are very grateful."

"President Reagan was famous for his smile, and Nancy was usually the reason he was smiling. During her husband's presidency and the difficult years that followed, Nancy Reagan was a rock of strength and unconditional love, and a leader in her own right on matters close to her heart," said former House Speaker John Boehner. "May they now both rest in peace in God's loving arms, reunited for eternity."

“Nancy Reagan was an example to us all of graciousness, loyalty and dignity in good times and bad. She was an exemplary First Lady, and a generous friend. I will always be grateful for her and her husband’s many kindnesses to my family.," said Se. John McCain, R-Ariz. "And I will always remember her as a dear friend and patriot and as one-half of a love story that Hollywood couldn’t have written any better.”

House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that Reagan "touched the heart of a nation and made the world a better place."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell highlighted the bond between Nancy Reagan and her husband. "In many ways the Reagan love story was classic Hollywood, but it was unmistakably human too," he said in a statement. "Hands intertwined, Nancy and Ron rose to the pinnacle of political power, weathered cancer and personal heartbreak, and braved the depths of Alzheimer's cold embrace — always together."

"Our loss is heaven's gain. First Lady Nancy Reagan will be remembered for her bravery & integrity," said House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Reagan was a "dear friend."

"I will miss her but never forget all that she meant to me. Her spirit will live on in all who learned from her and loved her," Rice said.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Reagan one of his "heroes."

She served as First Lady with unbelievable power, class and grace and left her mark on the world," Schwarzenegger said. "She's with her Ronnie now, but those of us she left behind will miss her dearly."

Maria Schriver, who, like Reagan served as first lady of California, noted on MSNBC that Reagan was "deeply devoted to her husband."

"She served our country and the state of California with class," Schriver said in a statement.

"We're saddened by the loss of Nancy Reagan," said a tweet from NASA, accompanied by a picture of the former first lady admiring a space shuttle.

The Girl Scouts of America said in a statement that Reagan would be remembered for her "courage, confidence and character" in service to America and the Girl Scouts. Nancy Reagan served as the honorary national president of the Girl Scouts from 1981-1989.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I offer condolences to the Reagan family and the United States following the death of Nancy Reagan," said Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Nancy and Ronald Reagan were one of the great love stories of the American presidency,” said Craig Shirley, a Ronald Reagan biographer, who has written three books about the late president. "Nancy Reagan was not only the First Lady; she was a Great Lady."