How Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a feminist and pop culture icon for a new generation

Ginsburg cemented her status as an icon later in her life.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dedicated her career to fighting for women’s rights and gender equality, died at 87 on Friday night after a long battle with metastatic pancreas cancer.

Crowds gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court after news of her death to mourn the life of the late liberal associate justice turned pop culture icon. Tributes poured in overnight from her colleagues, politicians and feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

Serving as the second woman in history on the nation’s highest court for more than a quarter century, Ginsburg became a giant of American law and American life.

While on the court, Ginsburg was a consistently liberal voice on issues like voting rights and abortion. She made her mark on historic cases, including the 1996 case, United States v. Virginia, which struck down the male-only admission policy at the Virginia Military Institute, opening the door for women to study there.

Later in her career, Ginsburg, who endured discrimination as a woman in her own legal career and worked tirelessly to fight for ideals of equality on the bench, became a pop culture and feminist icon. She earned a rap-inspired nickname, "The Notorious RBG" or just by her initials, "RBG."

“People ask me, ‘Don’t you feel uncomfortable with a name like the Notorious B.I.G?’ And I say, ‘Why would I feel uncomfortable? We both have a lot in common.'”

At just 5 feet, 1 inch tall, her image suddenly became larger than life, appearing on shirts, bags, and a loving impersonation became a “Saturday Night Live” staple.

Parents dressed up their little girls as baby Ginsburgs for Halloween.

“I am now 86 years old. Yet people of all ages want to take their picture with me,” Ginsburg remarked. “Amazing.”

As the court shifted to the right, Ginsburg was known for her forceful, carefully-crafted opinions and fierce dissents. Her famous “dissent collar” -– the bib necklace she frequently wore when dissenting with a Supreme Court opinion -- became a fashion statement.

She rarely missed a day on the bench or at the gym, still sticking to her daily workouts even after receiving radiation for a pancreatic tumor. She was known for wearing a shirt that says "super diva" during her workouts.

Devoted "RBG" fans held the "plank pose" in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., to ring in her 86th birthday.

Her pioneering rise to the Supreme Court and tireless fight for equal rights for women was celebrated on the big screen in the 2018 film, “On the Basis of Sex.” The documentary, “RBG,” about her life became an instant box office hit.

“Her very example of being somebody who was unflagging, committed to her job and to the cause of equality and justice. She had millions of people who looked up to her, millions of people looked up to Justice Ginsburg for being such a champion for equality, both on the bench and off," said Irin Carmon, co-author of "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg."