Elizabeth Edwards, a forceful political wife and a best-selling author writing about her battle with cancer died Tuesday after a six-year struggle with cancer. She was 61. She died at her North Carolina home surrounded by her three children, siblings, friends and her estranged husband, John, the family said.
"Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence, but she remains the heart of this family," the family said in a statement. "We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life. On behalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way. Your support and prayers touched our entire family."
Breast cancer was first diagnosed in 2004. The family issued a statement Monday saying further treatment would be unproductive. She told People magazine in June that the cancer had spread with tumors in her skull, spine and legs.
Elizabeth Edwards had focused in recent years on advocating health care reform, often wondering aloud about the plight of those who faced the same of kind of physical struggles she did but without her personal wealth. A great lady and a great fighter!
Obama said he spoke to John Edwards and the Edwardses' adult daughter, Cate, on Tuesday to offer condolences.
"In her life, Elizabeth Edwards knew tragedy and pain," Obama said in a statement. "Many others would have turned inward; many others in the face of such adversity would have given up. But through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration."
The president called her a tenacious advocate for fixing the health care system and fighting poverty. "Our country has benefited from the voice she gave to the cause of building a society that lifts up all those left behind," Obama said.