PARIS, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of French President Francois Mitterrand, died at a Paris hospital Tuesday at the age of 87, her family said.
At the time of her death, she was being treated for respiratory problems and anemia, Radio France Internationale reported.
"Danielle Mitterrand had the strength, nobility and generosity of those people we feel are immortal," said Martine Aubry, the leader of France's Socialist Party.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called her a woman who was determined "to make heard the voices of the people no one wanted to hear."
The former Danielle Gouze met Francois Mitterrand through their involvement with the French Resistance during World War II. They were married in 1944.
When Mitterrand became president of France in 1981, she said she would use her position as first lady to help the most downtrodden and set up a foundation called France Libertes -- Danielle Mitterrand.
Her dignity was on display in 1996 when she put her arms around the daughter of Francois Mitterrand and his mistress at the former president's funeral.