Washington, Sept 19: US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, seen as the iconic champion of women’s rights, died of cancer at the age of 87, the court said in a statement on Saturday.
Ginsburg had been suffering from metastatic pancreatic cancer and she died at her home in Washington, DC, surrounded by her family, the statement said.
Earlier this year, Ginsburg had said that she was undergoing chemotherapy for a recurrence of the cancer.
Ginsburg was a prominent feminist who became a figurehead for liberals in the US. She was the oldest justice and the second ever woman to sit on the Supreme Court. She was appointed to the US Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton, where she served for 27 years.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement on Friday. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her – a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
As one of four liberal justices on the court, her health was watched closely. Ginsburg’s death raises the prospect of Republican US President Donald Trump trying to expand its slender conservative majority, even before this November’s election.
In the days before her death, Ginsburg expressed her strong disapproval of such a move. “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she wrote in a statement to her granddaughter, according to National Public Radio.
President Trump is expected to nominate a conservative replacement for Ginsburg as soon as possible, White House sources told the BBC.
Mr Trump reacted to Ginsburg’s death after an election rally in Minnesota, saying: “I didn’t know that. She led an amazing life, what else can you say?”