SHANGHAI — Zhuo Lin, the widow of Deng Xiaoping, the Communist revolutionary who served as China's paramount leader in the latter part of the 20th century, died Wednesday in Beijing. She was 93.
Her death was announced by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, which did not disclose the cause.
Zhuo was never active in politics, but she played a crucial role in helping Deng survive a series of political purges during his long career, including the darkest days of the Cultural Revolution, when the couple's son was seriously injured in a fall in Beijing and the family was exiled to Jiangxi province, in southern China. For a time, the country's future leader and his wife worked in a tractor repair shop.
But after Mao Zedong died in 1976, Deng rose to power again. He later became the most powerful figure in the Communist Party and the architect of many of the country's bold economic reforms. He died in 1997, at 92.
One of the few titles Zhuo held was consultant to the Central Military Commission. When she died Wednesday, the Central Committee of the Communist Party saluted her as a "time honored loyal Communist fighter."
She was born Pu Zhuolin in April 1916, the daughter of a prosperous merchant in Yunnan province in southwestern China. After attending the prestigious Peking University, she moved to the Communist Party stronghold at Yan'an in northern China in 1937. The Communists had set up a base there to fight the Japanese and the Nationalist government.
At Yan'an, where Mao, Deng, Zhou Enlai and other leaders were stationed, she joined the Communist Party in 1938 and married Deng in 1939.