Elizabeth Edwards, lawyer, best-selling author and the estranged wife of former two-time Democratic presidential nominee John Edwards, died yesterday at age 61 after a six-year battle with cancer.
Elizabeth, who was catapulted into the national spotlight after her husband was unmasked as an adulterer during his 2008 campaign, died at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C. surrounded by her family, including John.
“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence, but she remains the heart of this family,” her relatives said in a statement. “We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life.”
Elizabeth — who had four children, one of whom, Wade, died in a 1996 car accident at age 16 — said Monday she would stop cancer treatment after doctors told her it was futile.
On her Facebook page Monday she wrote: “[My family, friends and faith] have carried me through difficult times …. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that.”
On Election Day 2004, she learned she had a breast tumor. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer went in to remission, but in 2007 she announced it had returned and spread to the bone and later the liver. Doctors said it was incurable but treatable.
Elizabeth separated from her husband in January after 32 years of marriage, following a headline-grabbing scandal in which her husband had an affair and fathered a baby with a campaign aid.
She wrote two best-selling books, “Resilience” and “Saving Graces,” about her long battle with cancer and her husband’s scandal.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her daughters, Emma Claire and Catherine, and her son, Jack.