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Friday
Jul082011

Former First Lady Betty Ford Dies at 93

Betty Ford and Gerald Ford attend Carousel Of Hope Ball Benefit on October 26, 1990 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Ron Galella Archive/Getty Images(PALM SPRINGS, Calif.) -- Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States from 1974-1977, has died.

Ford was born Betty Bloomer on April 18, 1918 in Chicago.  She married Gerald Ford -- who was to become the nation's 38th president -- in 1948.

Of all the first ladies, Betty Ford was one of the most outspoken and candid.  Within months after moving into the White House, she let the country know she had breast cancer and became an advocate for early detection.  

Betty Ford went public again in 1978 when she entered a rehabilitation program for dependence on alcohol and prescription drugs.  Four years later, she opened her own substance abuse center .  

Thousands have been helped at the Betty Ford Center -- among them celebrities, Elizabeth Taylor, Chevy Chase and Mary Tyler Moore.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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