Maggie Daley, who served 22 years as Chicago's First Lady, died shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, at the age of 68.

Mrs. Daley was surrounded by her husband and family members at her home, Jacquelyn Heard, a family friend and former Mayor's spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune.

The mayor and his family would like to thank the people of Chicago for the kindness they have shown Mrs. Daley over the years, and they appreciate your prayers at this time, Heard said.

Daley's death came more than nine years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had been hospitalized several times since her diagnosis.

Dr. Steven Rosen, director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, told the Tribune that saw Daley Thursday morning at her home. She was under the care of nurses and people from the center's support care program in recent weeks.

Rosen, who cared for Daley since 2002, was again called to the home again between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. He got there about the time of her death, the Tribune reported.

She was comfortable, Rosen said. She died at home, with the mayor, their children and his siblings there.

She was heroic, Rosen said of the Daley resilience against the cancer that spread through her body. The way she dealt with it was great. She had great dignity, and she was an inspiration for all of us. She was a remarkable woman. All of us are blessed that she was in our lives.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement late Thursday night noting that Chicago lost a warm and gracious First Lady who contributed immeasurably to our city.

While Mayor Daley served as the head of this city, Maggie was its heart, he said.