Chicago (CNN) -- Maggie Daley, the wife of a former Chicago mayor, died Thursday night after battling breast cancer.
She was 68.
Daley died about 6 p.m. at home "surrounded by family, including her husband, former Mayor Richard Daley, and her children, Nora, Patrick and Elizabeth," said Jacquelyn Heard, Daley's former spokeswoman and a family friend.
"The mayor and his family would like to thank the people of Chicago for the many kindnesses they've shown Mrs. Daley over the years, and they appreciate your prayers during this time," Heard said.
She died from complications from breast cancer, Heard said.
Her husband was first elected mayor in 1989 to complete the term of the late Harold Washington. He was re-elected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. He was succeeded by Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel said Daley started a successful after-school arts program in 1991.
"We are grateful to Maggie for lending her shining spirit to Chicago in so many ways. She inspired all of us with her commitment to children and the arts," Emanuel said. "Every person in this city, one way or another, has been touched by her vision and determination."
President Barack Obama described her as "an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to public service," including programs to benefit Chicago youth.
"While she will be sorely missed, her initiatives on behalf of Chicago's youth live on as national models for how to create environments for children to learn and grow outside the classroom," Obama said in a statement. "Maggie's commitment to the children and people of Chicago was surpassed only by her devotion to her family."
CNN's Marlena Baldacci and Greg Morrison contributed to this report.