WASHINGTON -- Helen Thomas, the irrepressible White House correspondent who used her seat in the front row of history to grill nine presidents -- often to their discomfort and was not shy about sharing her opinions, died Saturday.
She was 92.
Thomas, who died at her apartment in Washington, had been ill for a long time, and in and out of the hospital before coming home Thursday, according to a friend, Muriel Dobbin.
Thomas made her name as a bulldog for United Press International in the great wire-service rivalries of old, and as a pioneer for women in journalism.
She was persistent to the point of badgering.
One White House press secretary described her questioning as "torture" -- and he was one of her fans.
Her refusal to conceal her strong opinions, even when posing questions to a president, and her public hostility toward Israel, caused discomfort among colleagues.