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Elizabeth Edwards succumbs to breast cancer

by Adam Russett on December 8, 2010

Just a day after her family announced that she was stopping treatment, Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former presidential hopeful John Edwards, passed away Tuesday afternoon at her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the age of 61.

Edwards had been receiving treatment at a nearby hospital, but her family said Monday that doctors felt that any further procedures would be unproductive as the disease had spread to her liver. Edwards was diagnosed with the disease in 2004 and although it went into remission, it returned in 2007 and was deemed incurable.

Perhaps what she will be remembered most for, ABC News reports, is being a caring, compassionate figure even up until her last moments.

"As everything was with Elizabeth, she was sort of the strength for everyone around her," family friend Christina Reynolds said Wednesday when she appeared on Good Morning America. "[The house] was filled with good spirits and with the people that she loved … She got to spend time with her family and got to comfort them."

Along with her husband, Edwards is survived by three children, 28-year-old Cate, 12-year-old Emma Claire and 10-year-old Jack.

Though she worked as a small-town lawyer for much of her life, she was thrust into the public spotlight when her husband was tabbed as the running mate for John Kerry in the 2004 election after his own bid was an unsuccessful.

Her life was later thrust into turmoil after it was revealed that John Edwards fathered a child during an affair with a campaign staffer. Still, she was a paragon of resilience despite undergoing cancer treatments while her marriage fell apart. She was still a central figure in the political world, penning a book and even serving as an advisor to President Barack Obama on healthcare.

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