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Madeleine Albright Dead at 84

She succumbed to cancer

Madeleine Albright, a child refugee from Nazi- and then Soviet-dominated eastern Europe who rose to become the 1st female U.S. secretary of state and a mentor to many current and former American statesmen and women, has died of cancer, her family said Wednesday. She was 84.

A lifelong Democrat who nonetheless worked to bring Republicans into her orbit, Albright was chosen in 1996 by President Bill Clinton to be America's top diplomat, elevating her from her post as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, where she had been only the second woman to hold that job.

As secretary of state, Albright was the highest-ranking woman in the history of U.S. government. She was not in the line of succession to the presidency, however, because she was a native of Prague. The glass ceiling that she broke was universally admired, even by her political detractors.

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