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Nancy Reagan Pays Tribute to Merv Griffin

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Aug 13, 2007 | 4:43am EDT

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has become among the first celebrities to pay tribute to late TV mogul Merv Griffin, who died in the hospital on Sunday.

A longtime friend of the former talk show king-turned-game-show mastermind, Reagan has called Griffin's death "heartbreaking."

In a statement released hours after Griffin's death, she said, "Ronnie (Reagan) and I knew Merv for more years than I can even remember--more than 50, I'm sure.

"He was a dear, dear friend and we became even closer in the last 15 years. He was there for me on some of the hardest days when Ronnie was fighting Alzheimer's and he was there for me every day after Ronnie died. Merv meant the world to me.

"I will miss him and his brilliant smile, his wonderful voice, and the twinkle in his eyes, every day for the rest of my life. My love and prayers are with (Griffin's son) Tony and the entire family."

Griffin died at Los Angeles' Cedars Sinai Medical Center early on Sunday after losing his battle with prostate cancer.

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