Pauline Phillips, the Original Dear Abby, Is Dead

The woman who turned her advice column into a worldwide phenomenon was 94 years old.

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Pauline Phillips, the advice expert who turned her "Dear Abby" column into a worldwide phenomenon has died, according to TMZ. Phillips was 94 years old.

The former columnist made her struggle with Alzheimer's disease known to the public for the first time in an October, 1980 column. Her daughter, Jeannie Phillips, who carried on her mother's tradition as the widely syndicated "Dear Abby" columnist, started to help Pauline write the column after her mother announced her struggle with the disease. Pauline "leaves very big high heels to fill," Jeannie told TMZ.

Pauline Phillips started growing her advice column from regional circulation in San Francisco in 1956, into a daily self-help bible carried in pretty much every small town newspaper in North America. It's now the most widely syndicated newspaper column in the world, according to the Dear Abby website, with a daily readership that would make any columnist green with envy.

Update 2:18 p.m.: The New York Times' Phillips obituary is written in the style of a "Dear Abby" column.

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