World leaders pay tribute to 'iconic' Thatcher

World leaders led tributes to Britain's "Iron Lady". former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, remembering her for her passion, courage and determination and being a polarising figure in Britain and beyond. Here is a look at what they have had to say:

Park Geun-hye, President, South Korea

Mrs Thatcher "revived the British economy and led Britain to an era of

hope in the 1980s."

Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister, Malaysia

She was "a formidable figure on the world stage."

She inspired many with her "strong leadership and sense of conviction."

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister, Australia

"Her service as the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom was a history-making achievement.

Her strength of conviction was recognised by her closest supporters and her strongest opponents."

Malcolm Fraser, Former Prime Minister, Australia

"In some ways she was a mixture because she had emotional reactions but she also had a very powerful intellect.

"In discussions with her it was always important that you got on to the intellectual side ... and once you did, you found a powerful, rational argument for a course of action.

"I think she did enormous good for the British economy."

David Cameron, Prime Minister, United Kingdom

"We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.

As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she'll go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.

Her legacy will be the fact she served her country so well, she saved our country and that she showed immense courage in doing so. And people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably for centuries to come.

Buckingham Palace

The Queen is sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.

Barack Obama, President, United States

"The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.

As a grocer's daughter who rose to become Britain's first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can't be shattered.

As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom's promise."

Mikhail Gorbachev, Former Soviet leader

"Our first meeting in 1984 marked the beginning of a relationship that was difficult sometimes, not always smooth, but serious and responsible from both sides.

Gradually, human relations developed as well, they became more and more friendly.

Eventually we were able to reach mutual understanding, and this contributed to changes in atmosphere between our country and the West, and to the end of the Cold War. Margaret Thatcher was a great politician. She will remain in our memory and in history."

John Major, Former Conservative Prime Minister, United Kingdom

"In government, the UK was turned around under - and in large measure because of - her leadership.

Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader.

Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private."

Tony Blair, Former Labour Prime Minister, United Kingdom

"Margaret Thatcher was a towering political figure. Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world.

Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast. And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour government, and came to be implemented by governments around the world.

Even if you disagreed with her as I did on certain issues and occasionally strongly, you could not disrespect her character or her contribution to Britain's national life. She will be sadly missed."

Nancy Reagan, Former US First Lady

"It is well known that my husband and Lady Thatcher enjoyed a very special relationship as leaders of their respective countries during one of the most difficult and pivotal periods in modern history. Ronnie and Margaret were political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end Communism.

As Prime Minister, Margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to "rock the boat". As a result, she helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions of people.

Ronnie and I knew her as a dear and trusted friend, and I will miss her. The United States knew Margaret as a spirited and courageous ally, and the world owes her a debt of gratitude."

Gordon Brown, Former Labour Prime Minister

"She will be remembered not only for being Britain's first female prime minister and holding the office for eleven years, but also for the determination and resilience with which she carried out all her duties throughout her public life.

Even those who disagreed with her never doubted the strength of her convictions and her unwavering belief in Britain's destiny in the world."

Meryl Streep, Actress and star of The Iron Lady

"Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th Century."

Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany

"She shaped modern Great Britain as few have before or since. She was one of the greatest leaders in World politics of her time.

The freedom of the individual was at the centre of her beliefs so she recognised very early the power of the movements for freedom in Eastern Europe.

And she supported them. I will never forget her contribution in overcoming Europe's partition and the end of the Cold War."

Francois Hollande, President, France

"Throughout her public life, with conservative beliefs she fully assumed, she was concerned with the United Kingdom's influence and the defence of its interests. She maintained a relationship with France that was frank and honest."

George W. Bush, Former President, United States

"She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity.

She is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States."

Bill Clinton, Former President, United States

"Like so many others, I respected the conviction and self-determination she displayed throughout her remarkable life as she broke barriers, defied expectations, and led her country."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.