FDR dies at 63, April 12, 1945

An undated photo of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Campobello Island, off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada. | AP Photo

On this day in 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his Warm Springs, Ga. retreat. He was 63. Roosevelt’s death in the final months of World War II was met with shock and grief throughout the Western world.

Roosevelt had been president for more than 12 years, longer than any other person. He led the country through some of its deepest domestic and foreign crises to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany and within sight of Japan’s surrender.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who had spent many weeks in the White House shaping Allied strategy with Roosevelt, described his feelings on learning of his death as having “been struck a physical blow.”

When he was stricken, Roosevelt was in the living room with Lucy Mercer, with whom he had resumed an affair; two cousins; his dog, Fala; and Elizabeth Shoumatoff, who was painting his portrait.

At about 1 p.m., Roosevelt said, “I have a…”

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