Former President Gerald Ford dies at age 93

Former President Gerald Ford, the nation?s 38th president, has passed away at the age of 93.

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that GeraldFord, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and greatgrandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Betty Ford said ina brief statement issued from her husband's office in RanchoMirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and hiscountry."

The statement did not disclose a cause of death. Ford had battled pneumonia in January of 2006 and underwent two heart treatments in August at the Mayo Clinic. He was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also passed away at 93.

Ford was House minority leader when President Nixon chose him to replace the resigned Spiro Agnew as vice president in 1973. Ford became the nation's only unelected president on Aug. 9, 1974, when Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal.As president, Ford tried to calm earlier controversies by granting former President Nixon a full pardon. His nominee for vice president, former Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, was the second person to fill that office by appointment. Gradually, Ford selected a cabinet of his own.

Ford established his policies during his first year in office, despite opposition from a heavily Democratic Congress. His first goal was to curb inflation. Then, when recession became the nation's most serious domestic problem, he shifted to measures aimed at stimulating the economy. However, still fearing inflation, Ford vetoed a number of non-military appropriations bills that would have further increased the already heavy budget deficit. During his first 14 months as president he vetoed 39 measures. His vetoes were usually sustained.

In foreign affairs Ford acted vigorously to maintain U. S. power and prestige after the collapse of Cambodia and South Vietnam. Preventing a new war in the Middle East remained a major objective. By providing aid to both Israel and Egypt, the Ford administration helped persuade the two countries to accept an interim truce agreement. Detente with the Soviet Union continued. President Ford and Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev set new limitations upon nuclear weapons.

President Ford won the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1976, but lost the election to his Democratic opponent, former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia.

Ford and his wife, Betty, lived in Rancho Mirage since leaving the White House in 1977.

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