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The country's first Malay female professor Puan Sri Dr Fatimah Hamid Don died at the age of 89 early this morning.

Her daughter Dr Fawziah Tan Sri Ishak said she died at 2.35 am while in the recovery phase after stroke problems for a year at KPJ Hospital Tawakal here.

"We (family) were surprised because on the first day of Aidilfitri (April 22) my mom said that she was able to walk six steps and was very positive about recovering. She was my role model," Dr Fawziah said when contacted by Bernama.

She said the funeral prayers will be held at the Tun Abdul Aziz Mosque, Section 14, Petaling Jaya and that her mother will be laid to rest at the at Taman Medan Muslim Cemetery, Petaling Jaya after the Zohor (midday) prayers .

Fatimah leaves behind two daughters and two granddaughters.

Her granddaughter Dr Dima Marlina Mohd Rafi said through her Facebook that the late Fatimah was not only a loving mother and grandmother but also a great figure in national education and women's empowerment.

Fatimah was the first Malay woman to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the field of education at the University of California, United States and was also awarded the Fatimah Medal in conjunction with Women's Day in 1988.

She had served in the education field since 1956 and held various high positions including as education officer, teacher and college lecturer.

Fatimah retired as a professor in 1990 after serving for 26 years at Universiti Malaya.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency