Another chapter of the Mao Zedong era ended late on Tuesday night with the death of Shao Hua , Mao's daughter-in-law. Shao, originally known as Zhang Shaohua, died of an undisclosed illness in a Beijing hospital, aged 69, less than a year after her husband, Mao Anqing , passed away, state media reported. Born into a revolutionary family at the Communist Party's base in Yanan , Shaanxi province , in October, 1938, Shao had a difficult childhood but her close links with the party's first generation paid off later in life. Her father, Chen Zhenya ,was a Red Army official who was killed by a warlord in Xinjiang and her mother, Zhang Wenqiu, was a 'party heroine' who joined the nascent Communist Party in the 1920s. She spent four years with her parents in the Xinjiang warlord's prison after the family was captured on its way to the Soviet Union for medical care. She was rescued by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in 1946. Her revolutionary background was valuable political capital and helped her forge a relationship with Mao Anqing, a quiet Russian linguist, under the personal intervention of Mao. Shao married Mao Anqing, the second son of Mao and Yang Kaihui , in 1960 and the couple's only son, Mao Xinyu , was born in 1970. He is a researcher at the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences, specialising in Marxism and Mao. Shao graduated from Peking University's Chinese department and spent most of her time compiling a history of the party and Mao Zedong's documents. She also published a series of books about Mao Zedong. She was a PLA major general and a deputy director of the military encyclopedia department of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences. Shao was a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1988 to 2002. Her recent public appearances had mainly related to her chairmanships of the China Photographers' Association and the China Female Photographers' Association. Official reports said her 'photographic skills dated back to the 1950s, when she began to shoot pictures for Chairman Mao with a camera brought from the Soviet Union by Mao Anying , Mao Zedong's eldest son'. Professional photographers were less than enthusiastic about the appointment of a 'passionate amateur' to the senior posts. 'Her appointment to the chairmanship of the China Photographers' Association was all because of her family rather than her professionalism,' an association committee member said following the announcement of her death. 'All in all, her life and all her titles are related to her position as Mao's daughter-in-law.'