Former Republican Congresswoman Margaret Heckler dies

The eight-term Republican congresswoman from Massachusetts died of cardiac arrest Monday.

Margaret Heckler, Health and Human Services secretary at the time, looks on during a meeting with President Ronald Reagan.

BOSTON (AP) — Margaret Heckler, an eight-term Republican congresswoman from Massachusetts, secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan, and U.S. ambassador to Ireland, has died.

Her family says she died Monday of cardiac arrest at an Arlington, Virginia, hospital. She was 87.

The death was confirmed by Murphy Funeral Homes, of Arlington, which is handling arrangements.

She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966 and was one of only 11 women in the House. She served until 1983.

At Health and Human Services from 1983 until 1985 she was among the first high-profile members of the Reagan administration to call for additional federal funding for AIDS research.

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After she was forced out of the cabinet, she served as ambassador to Ireland until 1989.

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