Former President Reagan's oldest daughter Maureen, an outspoken feminist who crusaded for Alzheimer's disease after her father fell ill, has lost a long battle with skin cancer.
Her husband, Dennis C. Revell, announced today that she died at her home in the Sacramento, Calif., area. She was 60.
She lived with Revell and their 16-year-old daughter, Rita, a Ugandan girl they adopted in 1995.
Maureen had been undergoing aggressive therapy for the spread of cancer that was first discovered four years ago. The initial diagnosis was malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Doctors thought the cancer was in remission. But last October they discovered it had spread to her lymph nodes, and a month later a large tumor was discovered on her pubic bone.
Just a few months ago, Reagan and her father were both in the same Santa Monica, Calif., hospital. She was getting cancer treatment; he was mending a broken hip.
Maureen was often outspoken, and disagreed with her popular Republican father on many issues, including abortion.
Reagan's husband says his wife died after a courageous fight. Nancy Reagan released a brief statement expressing sadness on behalf of her and Maureen's father.
"Maureen Reagan has been a special part of my life since I met Ronnie over 50 years ago. Like all fathers and daughters, there was a unique bond between them," Mrs. Reagan 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."
The Alzheimer's Association mourned the death of one of its most prominent advocates.
"Maureen was so selfless and supportive in her efforts to call attention to the fight against Alzheimer's," said the group's chair, Orien Reid.
She bore a striking resemblance to her mother, actress Jane Wyman, who divorced Ronald Reagan when Maureen was just a small child. But Maureen became a very public defender of her stepmother Nancy Reagan.
A public memorial service and mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. PT, on Saturday, Aug. 18 in Sacramento, Calif. The mass will be followed by a private graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations be made to the Maureen Reagan Tribute Fund via the Alzheimer's Association site on the Web at http://www.alz.org.