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Ronald Reagan dies
 
US forces during the 1983 Grenada invasion
Reagan ordered the Grenada invasion
Former US president Ronald Reagan who died on Saturday in Los Angeles at the age of 93, will be remembered in the Caribbean as the president who ordered US troops to invade Grenada in 1983.

He ordered the invasion when Grenada's prime minister, Maurice Bishop, was overthrown by rebel elements of his own leftist People's Revolutionary Government.

Many of Reagan's allies and Democratic leaders in the US said the invasion was meddling in Grenada's affairs and suspected that it was intended to distract Americans from the horror in Beirut, into which Regan had also gotten the U.S. embroiled.

But despite international criticism, most Grenadians welcomed the 6,000 US marines who swarmed the state of just 100,000 people as an opportunity to rid themselves of the hardline Marxist-Leninists who had killed Maurice Bishop.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, called Reagan, "an American original".

"The world and his fellow Americans will forever be in his debt," Mr Powell said.

 To have achieved so much against so many odds and with such humour and humanity made Ronald Reagan a truly great American hero.
 
Ex UK PM Baroness Margaret Thatcher

US President George W Bush said Reagan leaves behind "a nation he restored and a world he helped save. May God bless Ronald Reagan."

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, who met Reagan on a number of occasions, called him a "great president", thanks to whom the Soviet Union and America had begun a difficult but crucial dialogue.

White House officials said President Bush has ordered flags at US government buildings to be flown at half-mast for the next 30 days.

A representative of the family said Ronald Reagan passed away on Saturday from pneumonia - a complication of Alzheimer's which had afflicted him for a decade.

"We appreciate everyone's prayers over the years," said his wife Nancy, who has cared for him through his illness.

She protected his privacy and had refused to disclose detailed information about the effect his condition had on him. The couple were married for 52 years.

Reagan's body will be taken to his presidential library and museum in Simi Valley, California and then flown to Washington for a state funeral. His body will then return to California for burial near his library.

Reagan was the 40th president of the US, taking office at the age of 69, the oldest to do so. He lived longer than any US president.

Before entering politics he had a career in Hollywood films, but never made it big. He described himself as the Errol Flynn of the B-movies.

Former US president Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy on his 89th birthday.
Nancy Reagan took care of her husband through his later years

Among the many tributes, ex-UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher spoke warmly of the man many regarded as her ideological soulmate during the Cold War years.

"President Reagan was one of my closest political and dearest personal friends," she said.

She credited him with having "won the Cold War for liberty... without a shot being fired."

"To have achieved so much against so many odds and with such humour and humanity made Ronald Reagan a truly great American hero."

 
 
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