Elizabeth Edwards, 61, dies after long struggle with cancer

Amplify’d from www.cnn.com

Elizabeth Edwards, 61, dies after long struggle with cancer

(CNN) — Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of 2004 vice presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator John Edwards, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 61.

She died at the family home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, according to a statement released by the family.

“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence but she remains the heart of this family,” the statement said. “We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life.”

Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after her husband lost his bid for vice president in November 2004. John Edwards, a one-term Democratic senator, was Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s running mate.

It was later revealed that she knew before the election she might have cancer, but shielded her husband from the news during the campaign. She immediately underwent treatment, and the cancer was believed to be in remission.

In March 2007 — at the start her husband’s 2008 presidential campaign — Edwards learned that the cancer had returned and spread.

Dr. Lisa Carey, the oncologist treating Edwards, categorized the cancer as metastatic stage four cancer, largely confined to the bones.

The cancer was diagnosed treatable but not curable, Edwards said.

Despite the diagnosis, Edwards said she was ready to go forward with her husband’s bid for the White House.

“Either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday or you start dying,” she said. “If I had given up everything that my life was about … I’d let cancer win before it needed to.”

“Maybe eventually it will win,” she said. “But I’d let it win before I needed to.”

John Edwards, unable to compete with the attention focused on then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, withdrew from the presidential race in January 2008.

Several months later, he admitted that tabloid claims about an extramarital affair with former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter were true. Eventually, he also admitted to fathering a child with Hunter — an allegation he initially vociferously denied even after conceding the affair.

John Edwards said the affair happened in 2006 while his wife’s cancer was in remission. He claimed he informed his wife at the time and asked for her forgiveness.

The couple was criticized by some activists for not revealing the affair prior to his presidential bid, as the news could have damaged Democratic chances if it became publicly known during a general election campaign in which John Edwards was the party’s standard bearer.

“This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private because as painful as it was I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well,” Elizabeth Edwards said.

The affair appeared to end any future political ambitions the former senator may have had. It also led to the couple’s separation.

Elizabeth Edwards was born Mary Elizabeth Anania on July 3, 1949, in Jacksonville, Florida. Her father was a Navy pilot, and in her early years, she attended school in Japan.

She attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and met her future husband while studying at UNC’s law school.

They spent their first date dancing at a local Holiday Inn, and it ended with John kissing Elizabeth on the forehead.

“It was just really sweet,” she said of the kiss. “I wasn’t used to men being sweet.”

The couple was married July 30, 1977, the Saturday after they took their state bar exams. They had four children: Wade, Cate, Emma Claire, and Jack. Wade Edwards was killed in a car accident in 1996.

Mrs. Edwards worked as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Calvitt Clarke Jr. in Norfolk, Virginia, and was a bankruptcy lawyer in Raleigh.

In 2006, after her initial cancer diagnosis, she wrote “Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers,” which chronicled the aftermath of her son’s death and her battle with the disease.

Read more at www.cnn.com

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s