Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said Tuesday that she had been diagnosed “with the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease.”
O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the court, said in a letter released through the Supreme Court Tuesday that she would “continue living in Phoenix, Arizona, surrounded by dear friends and family. While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessing in my life.”
O’Connor retired from the court in 2006 — in part to care for her husband, John, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and died in 2009 — and has since been active with a civic education organization she started, iCivics, and other projects.
“I hope that I have inspired young people about civic engagement and helped pave the pathway for women who may have faced obstacles pursuing their careers,” O’Connor’s letter concluded. “My greatest thanks to our nation, to my family, to my former colleagues, and to all the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to engage with over the years. God bless you all.”
Read O’Connor’s full letter below: