Pauline Phillips --the woman who founded the "Dear Abby" advice column -- died yesterday at the age of 94.
A rep for Phillips tells TMZ ... Pauline had been battling Alzheimer's disease.
Pauline's daughter, Jeanne -- who took over the "Dear Abby" column -- says ... "I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend."
She adds, "My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion,commitment and positive social change. I will honor her memory every day by continuing this legacy."
"Dear Abby" first appeared in print in 1956 -- and eventually grew to a daily readership of 100 MILLION.
Pauline's twin sister was advice columnist Ann Landers -- who died in 2002 at the age of 83.
During her career, Phillips used the pen name Abigail Van Buren -- she used the name "Abigail" from the wise woman in the Old Testament and "Van Buren" was adopted in honor of one of her favorite presidents.
'Dear Abby' Creator
Dead at 94
1/17/2013 11:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
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