Statement by Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg:

William H. Rehnquist, the 16th Chief Justice of the United States, died this evening at his home in Arlington, Virginia surrounded by his three children. The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his duties on the Court until a precipitous decline in his health in the last couple of days. He is survived by his three children: Janet Rehnquist of Arlington, Virginia, James C. Rehnquist of Sharon, Massachusetts and Nancy Spears of Middlebury, Vermont; his sister, Jean Laurin of Grand Rapids, Michigan; and nine grandchildren. His wife, Natalie Cornell Rehnquist, died in 1991.

Chief Justice Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice in 1971 by President Nixon and took his seat on January 7, 1972. He was elevated to Chief Justice by President Reagan in 1986.

Plans regarding funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.