Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, has died of cancer complications, reports CNN. She was 75.
"Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro was widely known as a leader, a fighter for justice and a tireless advocate for those without a voice," family members told the network in a statement. "To us, she was a wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, a woman devoted to and deeply loved by her family. Her courage and generosity of spirit throughout her life waging battles big and small, public and personal, will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed."
A native New Yorker, Ferraro was a lawyer and teacher before becoming a representative for NY's 9th District. In 1984 Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale tapped her to be his running mate. The pair lost by a landslide to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
"My biggest challenge in the '84 campaign was doing the job so that I didn't let down women," Ferraro has said. "Because I was the first there were people looking at me and saying, 'I just hope she's able to handle it,' because if I failed, they would fail. It's a lot of pressure."
President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who were friends of Ferraro, told UsMagazine.com in a statement their thoughts are with "Gerry's" family.
"Gerry Ferraro was one of a kind — tough, brilliant, and never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believed in — a New York icon and a true American original," the Clintons said in the statement. "She was a champion for women and children and for the idea that there should be no limits on what every American can achieve…Through it all, she was a loyal friend, trusted confidante, and valued colleague."
Ferraro is survived by her husband of 50 years, bussinesman John Zaccaro, their three children, and eight grandchildren.
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