By BILL McGUIRE
March 26, 2011 ( ABC NEWS )Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, died today at Massachusetts General Hospital, a spokesman for her family said. She was 75.
The cause of death was complications from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that she had battled for 12 years, according to a statement from her family.
Ferraro, the first woman and the first Italian-American to run on a major party national ticket, was Walter Mondale's vice presidential running mate in 1984 on the Democratic Party ticket.
She earned a reputation for speaking her mind on the issues of the day, sometimes generating controversy for her outspoken opinions.
The New York Democrat served three terms in the House of Representatives. In 1998, she ran and lost a bid for the Senate -- her second failed attempt in six years to serve in the Senate. That would be her last campaign.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued this statement Saturday:
"I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my dear friend Geraldine Ferraro. Through her life in the public arena, Geraldine's accomplishments served as a milestone in our country's acceptance of equality and diversity. She is proof that a person can make a difference, and make a difference is what Geraldine did throughout her life.
"She made a difference as a young prosecutor in Queens, as a congresswoman, as the first woman and first Italian-American to run for vice-president on a major party line and as a lawyer in private practice. As a role model for women across the world, she demonstrated that glass ceilings can be shattered. I had the honor and privilege to work with Geraldine for many years and I learned a great deal about courage and leadership from her.
"Over the last few years, as Geraldine has struggled with illness, she demonstrated every day what it means to be courageous, to be strong and, no matter what the circumstance, to fight for what you believe. Simply put, our nation is stronger because of her service and our lives are enriched by the lessons she taught us."
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