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Geraldine Ferraro, who became the first woman vice presidential candidate on a major U.S. party ticket, died Saturday at age 75.
A family spokeswoman said Ferraro died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she was being treated for blood cancer.
The three-term congresswoman from New York City emerged onto the national political stage in 1984, when she was chosen by presidential nominee Walter Mondale to join his ticket against incumbents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. In the end, Reagan won the election by a landslide.
President Barack Obama offered his condolences in a statement and said Ferraro's legacy would live on. "Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life."
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton followed in Ferraro's footsteps in her historic presidential bid in 2008, and Republican John McCain chose then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate that year. Palin paid tribute to the late politician on her facebook page: "She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more," she wrote. "May her example of hard work and dedication to America continue to inspire all women."