"Dear Abby" founder had been battling Alzheimer's disease
Pauline Phillips, who created the iconic advice column "Dear Abby," has died at the age of 94 in Minneapolis, the Associated Press reports.
A representative for Phillips told the AP that Phillips died in Minneapolis after battling Alzheimer's disease.
Phillips, who founded the column in 1956, wrote under the pen name Abigail Van Buren. Her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, assumed control the column from her mother in 2002 after co-writing it for years.
Phillips' twin, Esther, who died in 2002, wrote another popular advice column, writing as Ann Landers.
"I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend," Jeanne said of her mother's passing, according to TMZ. "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."
Phillips was born Pauline Esther Friedman in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1918. She conceived of the column in 1956 in San Francisco, telling the editors of the San Francisco Chronicle that she could do a better job than their current advice columnist.
"They gave her a bunch of letters, thinking that, that they would never see her again — and she immediately took all of the letters to my dad's nearby office and whipped out answers and had answers back the same day. That knocked them off their feet," her son, Edward Phillips, once told ABC.
Her "Dear Abby" column would go on to be syndicated in more than 1,200 newspapers, reaching nearly 100 million people a day.
The competition between Pauline and Esther as advice columnists created acrimony between the siblings early on in their careers, though the pair eventually reconciled.
The columnist married businessman Morton Phillips with whom she had Jeanne and Edward, days before her 21st birthday, in a double wedding ceremony with her sister.