Annie Cahill was herself an active republican who campaigned on behalf of republican prisoners.
Her husband, who was one of the founder members of the Provisional IRA, died in July 2004.
The former Sinn Fein president said he had known Mrs Cahill for 50 years, describing her as “a strong, courageous woman and sound republican,” who “was a tower of strength when her husband was imprisoned or in the run”.
Mr Adams added: “She worked hard to protect her family from the many challenges she and Joe faced in their lives. Her death is a huge blow to her family and also to the greater republican family. Her friendly smile and warm welcome and support and her great singing at republican events, particularly her rendition of Tom Williams, will be missed by all who knew her.”
SDLP councillor Mairia Cahill, a great niece of Mrs Cahill, tweeted that she was “very sorry to hear that my aunt Annie has passed. Had many good times with her, and will remember her with a smile.”