Matlin & Tyler Pay Tribute To Ford

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July 10, 2011 | 9:45am EST

Former addicts Marlee Matlin, Stevie Nicks and Steven Tyler have paid tribute to beloved former First Lady and rehab pioneer Betty Ford, who died on Friday.
Ford, who passed away at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, battled breast cancer, prescription drug addiction and alcoholism during her life.

She went on to set up the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, which has become a sanctuary for celebrities battling addictions – and several stars have paid tribute to Ford, the wife of Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States.

Tyler says, “Betty Ford took a risk at one of the worst times of her life and came forward to share a message of recovery in order to serve others.

“Her vision, passion and amazing heart led to the Betty Ford Center, the gold standard of treatment facilities. She will be missed, but her work in recovery will live on.”

Actress Matlin adds, “She helped me beat my addiction and she was an angel,” while Nicks simply states, “As far as I’m concerned, Betty Ford saved my life.”

Hollywood star Gary Busey says, “To the Ford family – Celebrate her life on the new plateau she is on – The Busey-ism for DEATH is: Don’t Expect A Tragedy Here. Betty’s still living in a new dimension so celebrate her life now as you celebrated her life on earth!”

Maria Shriver has also paid tribute to Ford, adding, “Mrs. Ford was a courageous pioneer, a groundbreaking First Lady, and a forceful advocate for anyone suffering from addiction or breast cancer. America fought her struggles with her and learned alongside her. She was brave, outspoken and kind. My heart goes out to her entire family. Her daughter Susan is a dear friend of mine and continues to carry on Mrs. Ford’s work in such a powerful way.”