Maggie Daley Chicago’s First Lady Dies At 68

Maggie Daley Chicago – Maggie Daley, who dedicated herself to children’s issues and the arts while also zealously guarding her family’s privacy during 22 years as Chicago’s first lady, died on Thursday, more than nine years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Daley was 68 and died in her Chicago home surrounded by her husband, former Mayor Richard Daley, and her children, Nora, Patrick and Elizabeth, said Jacquelyn Heard, Daley’s former spokeswoman and a family friend.

“The mayor and his family would like to thank the people of Chicago for the kindness they have shown Mrs. Daley over the years, and they appreciate your prayers at this time,” Heard said.

Maggie had long fought metastatic breast cancer, and she died of complications from that disease, Heard said.

Dr. Steven Rosen, director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, said he had seen Daley Thursday morning at her home, where in recent weeks she had been under the care of nurses and people from the center’s support care program. Rosen said he was called to the home again between 6 and 7 p.m., and arrived about the time of her death.

Rosen, who had cared for Daley since 2002, when the cancer had already spread to her lungs, liver and bones, marveled at her resilience.

“She was heroic,” he said. “She had great dignity, and she was an inspiration for all of us.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement Thursday night praising Maggie Daley.

“Chicago has lost a warm and gracious first lady who contributed immeasurably to our city,” Emanuel said in a statement. “While Mayor Daley served as the head of this city, Maggie was its heart.”

Daley had been hospitalized several times since her diagnosis, and in recent years had often used a walker, crutches or wheelchair during public appearances. Yet she remained a study in upbeat and gracious perseverance, downplaying her own struggles and eager to cast a spotlight on the needs of others.