Betty Ford, the widow of late President Gerald Ford and a co-founder of an eponymous addiction center in California, has died at the age of 93, according to the director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.
Ford died Friday evening with family at her bedside, according to a family member.
Born Elizabeth Anne Bloomer in Chicago, she grew up in Grand Rapids. At the age of 21, she moved to New York City to work as a dancer and model before heading back to the Midwest two years later.
One year after divorcing William Warren after five years of marriage, she wed Gerald Ford -- a former star football player at the University of Michigan and a decorated U.S. Navy veteran -- in 1948. That year, the woman now known as Betty Ford campaigned with her new husband on his successful campaign to become a U.S. congressman.
She published the first of two autobiographies, entitled "The Times of My Life." Ford would go on to become a high-profile example of someone who battled substance abuse issues, as well as a tireless advocate for treatment.
Her work paid dividends in October 1982 when, along with Leonard Firestone, she opened the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California. To this day, the center remains one of the most well-known and respected places nationwide for treatment of alcoholism and other drug dependencies.
Ford also fought to promote awareness and research on breast cancer, with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation eventually naming an award in her honor.
She earned numerous honors over her life, including a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and the Congressional Gold Medal eight years later.
Her husband, President Gerald Ford, died in 2006.