By Steve Neavling
The United States’ first woman to serve as attorney general, Janet Reno, died early Monday at age 78.
Reno spent her final day at home in Miami before succumbing to complications from Parkinson’s disease. She was surrounded by family and friends, NPR reports. 
“She was the least air-brushed candidate we have ever had for a cabinet-level position,” said Jamie Gorelick, who would later become deputy attorney general. “She was herself and she didn’t change herself for Washington.”
Reno served longer in the job than anyone had in 150 years. And her tenure was marked by tragedy and controversy. But she left office widely respected for her independence and accomplishments.
She was not President Bill Clinton’s first choice to head the Justice Department, nor his second. But after his number-one pick went down in confirmation flames, and his second choice also proved controversial, Clinton finally turned to Reno.
She was an unexpected pick. She had no connections to Clinton or Washington. But Clinton wanted a woman, and Reno was a big-time prosecutor, holding the top prosecutor’s job in Miami-Dade County, a position she had been elected to four times over 15 years.