Former President Gerald Ford, who entered the Oval Office after Richard Nixon's resignation, died this evening at age 93 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California. His wife Betty gave a statement saying:

My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age. His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.

Ford was the oldest surviving president, but had suffered some health problems this past year - pneumonia and heart heart treatments. President Bush released a statement about Ford's death, noting, "With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the Presidency."

Ford was neither elected to the Presidency or Vice Presidency; Nixon chose him to replace Spiro Agnew in 1973 (here's the Time cover story) and then became president on August 9, 1974 after Nixon left office. He told America, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over," after becoming President, but Americans were upset when he gave Nixon a full presidential pardon. His presidency also oversaw the fall of Saigon and a recession (buttons saying Whip Inflation Now were distributed as a grassroots attempt to beat inflation).


Of course, Ford had a tumultuous relationship with New York during his presidency. When the city went bankrupt in 1975, Ford refused to give NYC federal aid, and the Daily News ran its famous headline: FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD. (Of course, Mayor Abe Beame did get federal aid in 1976 - about $2.6 billion worth - but Beame had to eliminate free tuition at CUNY among other things.)

Ford was also a Congressman, representing Grand Rapids, Michigan, for 24 years (1949-1973) and was minority leader for the last 8 years. And while many Saturday Night Live skits portrayed him as being clumsy, he was part of the University of Michigan's undefeated seasons in 1932 and 1933.

Here is Ford's biography from the White House (also President Bush's happy birthday wishes to Ford from July) and one from Wikipedia. Ford's Presidential Library is in Ann Arbor, Michigan while his Presidential Museum is in Grand Rapids, Michigan.