Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, who was the only President in more than two centuries of American history to resign from office, died last night at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.
He was 81 years old and lapsed into a deep coma on Thursday morning after suffering a stroke on Monday.
His daughters, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and Tricia Nixon Cox, were at Mr. Nixon's bedside when he died.
Jonathan Weil, a spokesman for New York Hospital, issued a statement that said: "President Richard M. Nixon died at 9:08 P.M. as a result of a massive stroke which he suffered on Monday, April 18. His family was with him."
Mr. Nixon had indicated an unwillingness to receive extraordinary medical measures to revive him, and had slipped into a coma by Thursday.
President Clinton paid tribute in a short address from the Rose Garden, saying, "He understood the threat of Communism, but he also had the wisdom to know when it was time to reach out to the Soviet Union and to China."
Mr. Nixon was driven from office by the Watergate scandal, resigning in the face of certain impeachment on Aug. 9, 1974. He often acknowledged that the event would inevitably stain his pages in history, and despite strenuous and partly successful efforts over two decades to rehabilitate his reputation, he was right. It was a spot that would not out. He never completely dispelled the sense of shame that clung to his last days in the White House.
In some ways, American politics has never fully recovered, either. The break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington on June 17, 1972, and the frenzied, protracted efforts to cover it up, helped to convince many Americans that they could not trust their Government -- an idea that had begun to take hold in the earlier deceptions about Vietnam under previous Administrations of both parties.