Another former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, broke the sad news on Friday night (08Jul11).
Ford battled breast cancer, prescription drug addiction and alcoholism, and went on to set up the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs, California, which has become a sanctuary for celebrities battling addictions.
She died on Friday at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California.
Ford was the wife of Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States.
Paying tribute to her on Friday night, President Barack Obama stated, "Throughout her long and active life, Elizabeth Anne Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion. As our nation's first lady, she was a powerful advocate for women's health and women's rights.
"After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organisations such as the Betty Ford Center will honour her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life."
Reagan added, "She has been an inspiration to so many through her efforts to educate women about breast cancer and her wonderful work at the Betty Ford Center."