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Former Egyptian first lady, 'Mother of Heroes' Jehan Sadat dies at 87

By
Kyle Barnett
Jehan Sadat, the wife of former Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, speaks to reporters during an event in San Francisco, Calif., on March 8, 1988. File Photo by Martin Jeong/UPI
Jehan Sadat, the wife of former Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, speaks to reporters during an event in San Francisco, Calif., on March 8, 1988. File Photo by Martin Jeong/UPI | License Photo

July 9 (UPI) -- Jehan el Sadat, the longtime widow of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, died at a Cairo hospital on Friday. She was 87.

Sadat was hospitalized after contracting an illness, believed to be cancer, nearly two years ago.

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The office of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi mourned her death and called her a "hero of war and peace" and said she "provided a model for the Egyptian woman in supporting her husband under the most difficult and precise circumstances," according to Egypt Independent.

It was reported that the former first lady had been seriously ill for two weeks.

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Widely beloved in Egypt, she was the second wife of Anwar Sadat, Egypt's third president from 1970 until his assassination in 1981 -- and was given the public title of "Mother of Heroes" for her volunteer work treating wounded soldiers during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Later in life, the former first lady earned a Ph.D in comparative literature from Cairo University. In 1988, she visited the United States and spoke in favor of equal pay for women at an event in San Francisco.

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"We have no problem with equal pay for equal work or discrimination in job opportunities but as a conservative country, [Egypt still has] a long way to go," she told the audience, UPI reported at the time.

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Jehan el Sadat is survived by three daughters and a son she had with Anwar Sadat before his death.

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