Margaret Thatcher gives the final address of the Conservative Convention in Brighton in this October 14, 1988 file photo.—Reuters Photo

LONDON: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke, a spokesman for the family said.

“It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning,” Lord Tim Bell said.

Britain’s only woman prime minister, the tough, outspoken Thatcher, 87, led the Conservatives to three election victories, governing from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said it was with great sadness he had learnt of the death of Thatcher, his predecessor as Conservative leader.

“We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton,” Cameron said in a statement shortly after a spokesman for the Thatcher family said the former prime minister had died peacefully following a stroke.

Queen Elizabeth also expressed sadness and said she would be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.

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