Helen Thomas, a long-time White House correspondent and a glass ceiling breaker for women in journalism, has died. She was 92. A friend, Muriel Dobbin, says Thomas died at her apartment in Washington on Saturday morning.
"Thomas covered 10 presidents over nearly half a century, and became a legend in the industry.
She was a fixture at White House news conferences -- sitting front and center late in her career -- where she frequently exasperated government spokesmen with her pointed questions.
Thomas began covering the White House for United Press International when John F. Kennedy became president in 1961 and was a fixture there until her retirement in 2010.
She was considered the dean of the White House press corps because she was the longest-serving White House journalist.
President Barack Obama said that it was "not just the length of her tenure, but her fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account," that put her in high esteem.
In a written statement, Obama called Thomas a "true pioneer" and said she kept the presidents she covered -- including himself -- on their toes."
Thomas was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents' Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She wrote six books; her latest, with co-author Craig Crawford, is Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do.
Thomas was raised mainly in Detroit, Michigan, where her family moved when she was four years old, and where her father ran a grocery store. Thomas will be buried in Detroit, and a memorial service is planned in Washington in October, according to her family.
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