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US Democrat Geraldine passes away

US Democratic politician Geraldine A Ferraro died on Saturday at the age of 75, having fought blood cancer for many years.

world Updated: Mar 27, 2011 08:19 IST

US Democratic politician Geraldine A Ferraro died on Saturday at the age of 75, having fought blood cancer for many years.

She was the first female vice presidential candidate for a major party in US.

Ferraro, the first woman major-party candidate on presidential ticket, breathed her last at a hospital in Massachusetts, Washington Post quoted one of her family friends as saying.

She became the first woman on a major-party ticket when Democratic presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale chose her as his running mate in 1984. She was a three-term member of the US House of Representatives when the Democratic presidential nominee, Mondale, selected her.

Democrats were elated by the choice, which was seen as a landmark achievement in US politics and as a possible way to derail the re-election hopes of President Ronald Reagan, the report added.

Her nomination energised the party faithful at the Democratic National Convention, where Ferraro received an eight-minute ovation. She proved to be a dynamic presence on the campaign trail, where she often drew larger, more enthusiastic crowds than Mondale.

"This candidacy is not just a symbol, it's a breakthrough," she said during the campaign. "It's not just a statement, it's a bond between women all over America."

Despite the historic nature of Ferraro's candidacy, the Democratic ticket failed to inspire widespread support against the sheer weight of Reagan's popularity.

When she made her vice presidential run, 24 women were serving in the House and Senate. Twenty-seven years later, there are 88.

In 2008, Sarah Palin, a former governor of Alaska, became the second woman to be a vice presidential candidate for a major party when she was nominated as John McCain's Republican running mate.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and in 2007, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) became the first woman to serve as speaker of the House.

Pelosi, in a statement, said Ferraro "inspired women across the country to reach their own greatness as they strengthened our country".

President Obama praised Ferraro as "a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life".

He said of his own two daughters, "Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live".

Not only was she the first woman nominated by a major party for national office, but she remains the only Italian American on a presidential ticket.