LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former President Gerald Ford has died. That's according to his wife Betty.
Ford picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected president in America's history. He was 93.
Ford had battled recent health challenges. He had pneumonia in January and underwent two heart treatments, including an angioplasty in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Ford was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93. Ford had been living at his desert home in Rancho Mirage, California, about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.
“President Ford worked to heal the nation after one of the most turbulent periods in our history. His actions were defined by his patriotism and his belief that America had to move forward instead of looking back.
“Gerald and Betty Ford committed their lives to building this country. They understood that the strength in each of us is built on the lessons we learn from all of our experiences -- our families, our friendships, our successes, and our failures. President Ford was one of the kindest, most sincere elected officials whom I have known and with whom I have worked. He approached problems with commonsense and the simple goal of shaping a brighter future for the nation. Although he and I were from different political parties, we often were able to find common ground and work together for our country.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Betty, their family, and their friends. The days ahead will not be easy for them, but they go forward with the love and support of this country. Tonight, America has lost a true patriot.”