CHAPEL HILL, NC (WECT) – Elizabeth Edwards, 61, died Tuesday morning at 10:15, according to a family friend who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Reports say Elizabeth died at her home in Chapel Hill, where family and friends had gathered over the past few days.
The political wife was seriously ill, battling cancer. Doctors told Elizabeth and her family that further treatment of her cancer would have been unproductive. The family issued a statement Monday that revealed her doctors' diagnosis.
The Edwards family released the following statement:
Elizabeth Anania Edwards, mother, author, advocate died today at her home in Chapel Hill, surrounded by her family.
Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family.
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.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wade Edwards Foundation which benefits the Wade Edwards Learning Lab.
Elizabeth separated from her husband, former presidential candidate and North Carolina senator John Edwards, after he admitted to an extramarital affair.
Comments from around the state and nation:
"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. This afternoon I spoke to Cate Edwards and John Edwards, and offered our family's condolences. I came to know and admire Elizabeth over the course of the presidential campaign. She was a tenacious advocate for fixing our health care system and fighting poverty, and our country has benefited from the voice she gave to the cause of building a society that lifts up all those left behind," President Barack Obama said. "In her life, Elizabeth Edwards knew tragedy and pain. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends."
"Elizabeth Edwards fought a brave battle against a terrible, ravaging disease that takes too many lives every day. She was an inspiration to all who knew her, and to those who felt they knew her. Jill and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Edwards family as they grieve during this difficult and painful time," Vice President Joe Biden said.
"Brooke and I were saddened to learn this afternoon of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. She was a passionate advocate for issues she believed in and a caring and loving mother. Her legacy should serve as an inspiration to all of us. Her life was not without tragedy and adversity, yet through it all she fought for her family and faced every challenge with courage, poise, and grace. Our thoughts and prayers are with her entire family, but particularly her children, Cate, Emma Claire, and Jack," United States Senator Richard Burr (NC) said.
"I am very saddened to hear about Elizabeth Edwards' death. She was a dedicated mother and a passionate advocate for cancer research and health care causes. During her remarkable life, Elizabeth always carried herself with dignity. She used her battle with breast cancer to raise cancer awareness and create change. She faced her battle in the public eye, and I very much admired her strength and courage," United States Senator Kay Hagan (NC) said. "My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this extremely difficult time."
"I was saddened to learn of the death of Elizabeth Edwards. North Carolina has lost one of our smartest and most resilient women. My heart goes out to her family," North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue said.
"Elizabeth Edwards's death at much too young an age will be mourned and she will be fondly remembered in the hearts of women and men from all across our nation. Elizabeth was a woman of firm convictions and strong principles, and she was an inspiration not only to members of the Democratic Party but to countless Americans of all backgrounds. I offer my sincere condolences to her family and friends, and my thoughts go out to all those who will miss her. Elizabeth will not soon be forgotten, and her spirit will live on in all those who loved and admired her," Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said.
Stay with WECT and WECT.com for more details as they become available.
Copyright 2010 WECT. All rights reserved The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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