Maggie Daley, the wife of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and a driving force for the arts and education in the city, died on Thursday, current Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. She was 68.
Daley was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2002 but continued to make public appearances and downplayed her illness despite numerous trips to the hospital.
Some political observers attributed the emotional drain of her illness in part to her husband’s retirement this year after a city record 22 years in office.
“Chicago has lost a warm and gracious First Lady who contributed immeasurably to our city. While Mayor Daley served as the head of this city, Maggie was its heart,” Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff who won election to succeed Daley, said in a statement.