Pauline Phillips, the original "Dear Abby" advice columnist, died Wednesday at the age of 94 after a decade-long struggle with Alzheimer's disease, NBC News has confirmed.
Phillips wrote the most widely syndicated column in the world -- published in more than 1,200 newspapers and read by nearly 9 million people daily -- under the pen name Abigail Van Buren for four decades.
In 1956, the 37-year-old housewife became a journalist, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle and, soon after, for newspapers across the country. Phillips gave advice to men and women alike, championing equal rights for women, minorities, mentally ill individuals and those suffering from disease in her column and beyond.
She continued giving advice through the publication of six books and a popular radio show, "The Dear Abby Show," which aired on the CBS Radio Network for 12 years.
Her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, co-wrote the column with her mother for more than a decade.
"I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend," Jeanne Phillips said in a statement. "My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change. I will honor her memory every day by continuing this legacy."
Jeanne Phillips continues to write the column today, carrying on her mother's legacy under the pen name Abigail Van Buren. Other popular advice columnists -- like Slate's Dear Prudence and The Rumpus's Dear Sugar -- have followed in the iconic journalist's footprints.
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