'Dear Abby' Dead At 94

dear abby Abigail Van Buren

Photo: AP Photo

Pauline Friedman Phillips aka Abigail Van Buren — the original co-writer of the “Dear Abby” column — has died at the age of 94.Publicist Gene Willis confirmed Phillips died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Phillips first started the long running “Dear Abby” advice columnn in the The San Francisco Chronicle in 1956 as a 37-year-old housewife under the pen name “Abigail Van Buren.” (Abigail from the Bible and Van Buren from her favourite president.)

The column has since grown to a daily readership of 100 million and appears in more than 1,200 newspapers worldwide.

Phillips’ daughter, Jeanne Phillips, took over the column in 2002 after her mother retired when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jeanne tells TMZ, “I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend. My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion,commitment and positive social change. I will honour her memory every day by continuing this legacy.”

Phillips’ twin sister was advice columnist Ann Landers — who died in 2002 at the age of 83.

“They were born in Sioux City, Iowa, on July 4, 1918 and both worked on the Morningside College newspaper,” reports People. “And were even married in a double-ring ceremony on their birthday in 1939.”

In 1964, Dear Abby professed, “The purpose of life is to amount to something and have it make some difference that you lived at all.”

SEE ALSO: 15 things you didn’t know about Betty White in honour of her 91st birthday >

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