Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dead of a stroke at 87

LONDON -- Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died from a stroke, the Associated Press is reporting.

Thatcher, known as the "Iron Lady," was the longest serving British prime minister. She was 87 years old.

Thatcher's family said she died peacefully.  They are expected to release a statement later today.

Thatcher's spokesman and friend Lord Bell confirmed her death to Sky News.

"W'e'll never see the like of her again," said Bell.  "She was one of the great prime ministers of all time and transformed people's lives."

Thatcher was Britain's only female prime minister and served from 1979 to 1990 as the leader of the Conservative Party.  A strong-willed and politically tough leader, Thatcher was deemed the "Iron Lady."

Thatcher retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and she suffered several strokes after that, according to CNN.

The British government says Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honors, the AP reported.

Downing Street says Queen Elizabeth II has authorized a ceremonial funeral -- a step short of a state funeral -- to be held at St. Paul's Cathedral.

It says the funeral will be attended by a "wide and diverse range of people," and the service will be followed by a private cremation.

It did not provide further details on the timing of the service, saying only that the arrangement are "in line with the wishes" of Thatcher's family.

No other information was immediately released.

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