Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died aged 87 after a battle with metastatic pancreas cancer, the Supreme Court has announced.
The Democrat judge, only the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, passed away Friday evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington D.C. following complications with her illness.
Ginsburg, who served for 27 years on the highest court of the land, had battled several bouts of cancer after first being diagnosed back in 2009.
She announced in July she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver.
Her death paves the way for Donald Trump to expand his conservative majority on the Supreme Court ahead of November's election.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (pictured 2009) has died aged 87 after a battle with metastatic pancreas cancer, the Supreme Court has announced
Ginsburg, the leader of the court's four-member liberal wing, voiced concerns about the political impact of her passing in the days leading up to her death.
'My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,' the legal pioneer said in a statement dictated to her granddaughter Clara Spera days before her death.
Chief Justice John Roberts led tributes to his colleague Friday describing her as a 'champion of justice'.
'Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,' Roberts said in a statement.
'We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tired and resolute champion of justice.'
Tributes poured in from both sides of the political line for the legal pioneer dubbed the Notorious RBG.
Former presidents including George Bush and Jimmy Carter, as well as several Democrat leaders including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo all paid their respects to the New York great.
Hillary Clinton tweeted that Ginsburg, a staunch advocate for women's rights, paved the way for other women to succeed.
'Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG,' Clinton wrote.
The US Supreme Court (front left to right) Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., (back left to right) Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Elena Kagan and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh pose for their official portrait at the Supreme Court building November 2018
Bernie Sanders called the passing of the 'extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights' a 'tremendous loss' to America.
'Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the great justices in modern American history and her passing is a tremendous loss to our country,' he tweeted.
'She will be remembered as an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights.'
Former president George Bush, a Republican, also paid tribute to Ginsburg in a statement Friday.
'Laura and I join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls,' he said.
Above, Martin D. Ginsburg (left) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right) at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1954. They were married for 56 years and met while they both attended Cornell University. After graduating, the couple moved to Fort Sill so Martin could do his military service
The judge, only the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, passed away Friday evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington D.C. following complications with her illness, the court said in a statement
'Justice Ginsburg loved our country and the law. Laura and I are fortunate to have known this smart and humorous trailblazr, and we send our condolences to the Ginsburg family'.
Former president Jimmy Carter also paid tribute to the 'powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality'.
'Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality, she has been a beacon of justice during her long and remarkable career,' he said in a statement.
'I was proud to have appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980. We join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a truly great woman.
'We will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.'
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke of the state's heartbreak over the loss of one of its own.
'NY's heart breaks with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,' the Democrat tweeted.
'During her extraordinary career, this Brooklyn native broke barriers & the letters RBG took on new meaning—as battle cry & inspiration. Her legal mind & dedication to justice leave an indelible mark on America.'
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, also a Democrat, described her as an 'American hero' and demanded that her 'dying wish' to not be replaced on the bench until after the election be respected.
He tweeted: 'We have lost an American hero and a giant of justice.
'May we honor Justice Ginsburg's legacy by fighting for the civil rights of all Americans and respect her dying wish that she 'will not be replaced until a new president is installed.''
Tributes poured in from Democrats including Hillary Clinton, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Former presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter also paid tribute to the legal pioneer Friday
His words were echoed by Senator Cory Booker who urged the nation to carry on 'her legacy of fairness and equality'.
'Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a true giant, an American hero and a warrior for justice,' Booker tweeted.
'Our country mourns her loss deeply—we must honor her by carrying on her legacy of fairness and equality.'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said flags over the Capitol would be flown at half staff in Ginsburg's honor.
'Tonight, the flags are flying at half staff over the Capitol to honor the patriotism of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,' she tweeted.
'Every woman and girl, and therefore every family, in America has benefitted from her brilliance.'
Tributes also poured in from those on the other side of the political spectrum.
Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that he was filled with 'great sadness' at the news and that despite their 'many differences' he 'appreciate[d] her service to our nation'.
'It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Justice Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer who possessed tremendous passion for her causes. She served with honor and distinction as a member of the Supreme Court,' he wrote.
Tributes also poured in from those on the other side of the political spectrum
'While I had many differences with her on legal philosophy, I appreciate her service to our nation. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. May she Rest In Peace.'
'Take a moment. Breathe. And then we fight for our country the way she always did for us. Or we will lose everything,' she wrote on Twitter.
Ginsburg's death gives Trump the opportunity to name her successor at a critical time just six weeks before the nation heads to the polls.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her engagement photo taken in December 1953
The president has already appointed two members of the Supreme Court, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, in a move that pushes the court increasingly right wing.
The replacement of Ginsburg, a Democrat and women's rights champion, by another Republican will leave the court Democrats outnumbered, with six Republicans to their three.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
A debate is expected to ensue over whether Trump should nominate her successor or leave the seat vacant until after the outcome of the election.
Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted Friday after the news broke of Ginsburg's death that the position should not be filled until the White House race was over.
'The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,' he tweeted.
'Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying the Senate and nation mourns for Ginsburg alongside a statement where he said Trump's nominee would be voted for by the Senate.
'The Senate and the nation mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life,' he tweeted.
Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993 and has served more than 27 years.
She leaves behind her two children Jane Carol Ginsburg and James Steven Ginsburg, four grandchildren Paul Spera, Clara Spera, Miranda Ginsburg and Abigail Ginsburg, two step-grandchildren Harjinder Bedi and Satinder Bedi, and one great-grandchild Lucrezia Spera.
Her husband Martin David Ginsburg died in 2010.
Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15 1933.Incredible life of the woman who became the Notorious RBG: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Brooklyn-born daughter of Russian Jewish migrants became a trailblazer, the second woman to serve as Supreme Court Justice and a feminist pop culture icon
by Dusica Sue Malesevic for DailyMail.com
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, a legal pioneer who broke barriers for women in law, a feminist icon to many, and the recent pop culture phenomenon known as the 'Notorious RBG' has died. She was 87.
The collar-wearing octogenarian captured the public's imagination – especially for those on the left who offered everything from kale to protective bubbles to later on wearing masks on social media to safeguard her continued tenure on the highest court in the land. The list of things that Ginsburg inspired is long: two films, memes that range from the ribald to inspirational, mountains of memorabilia from t-shirts to totes, cocktails, a book on her workout, and even tattoos.
But beyond the persona of the 'Notorious RBG' and her groundbreaking law career, Ginsburg was a mother of two, had two grandchildren, and was married to her husband Martin D. Ginsburg for 56 years until his death in 2010. She blazed a path for women in the legal profession, and at five-foot-one had become a towering figure in Washington, D.C.
Ginsburg battled several bouts of cancer after being first diagnosed in 2009.
It was love at first Charles Dickens. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (left), pictured here with her husband of 56 years, Martin D. Ginsburg (right). They met while college students at Cornell University during the 1950s. Ruth was impressed by Martin's answer to a quiz question during a literature class taught by famous novelist Vladimir Nabokov, according to the biography called 'Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life' by Jane Sherron De Hart
The Ginsburg family, above, in a photo taken in 1958. Martin D. Ginsburg (left) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right) with their daughter Jane C. Ginsburg