SAO PAOLO, Brazil, July 2 (UPI) -- Ruth Cardoso, a noted anthropologist, intellectual and feminist who also became the first lady of Brazil, has died at age 77.
Known by her full name as Ruth Vilaca Correa Leite Cardoso, she died June 24 of an apparent heart attack at her Sao Paulo home. Brazilian news reports indicated Cardoso had been released the day before from a hospital where it had been determined that she was suffering from angina and arrhythmia, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
"Ruth Cardoso modernized the role of the president's wife and left a profound mark on Brazilian social policy," Miriam Leitao, a Brazilian newspaper columnist, recently wrote.
Her husband, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a sociologist, moved into politics in the 1980s, serving as a senator and cabinet minister before being elected president in 1994. Ruth was unenthusiastic about the ceremonial duties of being first lady. But during her husband's eight years in power, Mrs. Cardoso focused her energies on social programs like a "solidarity community" effort that bundled services, including literacy, health and nutrition assistance and loans for microbusinesses.