Sir Denis Thatcher dies in London aged 88

 

The husband of former British prime minister Baroness Thatcher, Sir Denis Thatcher, has died, aged 88.

Sir Dennis Thatcher
Sir Dennis Thatcher

"It is with deep sadness that we have to announce that Sir Denis Thatcher passed away peacefully this morning in the Lister Hospital after a short illness. His family were with him at his bedside when he died," a statement said.

Mr Thatcher underwent a five-hour heart by-pass operation in January. He appeared to recover from this and after a spell of convalescence in a spa hotel, he travelled to South Africa to recuperate.

But, back in Britain, he felt unwell again two weeks ago and was admitted to the Royal Brompton Hospital and later transferred to the Lister Hospital where he died.

Mrs Thatcher's former press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham said today: "It's a very sad day because the former Prime Minister has lost her mainstay."

Mr Bernard said Mr Thatcher had been "a breath of fresh air" in Downing Street: "He had his own way of thinking and he didn't hesitate to express himself.

"He was a loyal, reliable husband and consort to the Prime Minister. He knew what his duty was, he knew how to discharge it and I think in many ways he was a model consort for a Prime Minister."

Sir Denis's death would be a great blow to Lady Thatcher, said Mr Ingham.

"A great deal will have been lost in her life.

"She's not all that well in herself in terms of loss of memory. Therefore, I don't think she's going to find it easy to recover.

"She has, of course, in the past shown great powers of political recovery and you should never underestimate her but I think this is a very severe blow to her."

PA