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Reactions to Elizabeth Edwards' death

Reaction to the death of Elizabeth Edwards, who passed away on Dec. 7, 2010, after a six-year battle with breast cancer. She was 61.

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Reaction to the death of Elizabeth Edwards, who passed away on Dec. 7, 2010, after a six-year battle with breast cancer. She was 61.

President Barack Obama 

"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.

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."

Vice President Joe Biden

"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." 

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. America has lost a passionate advocate for building a more humane and just society, for reforming our health care system, and for finding a cure for cancer once and for all. But the Edwards family and her legion of friends have lost so much more -- a loving mother, constant guardian, and wise counselor. Our thoughts are with the Edwards family at this time, and with all those people across the country who met Elizabeth over the years and found an instant friend -- someone who shared their experiences and offered empathy, understanding and hope. She made her mark on America, and she will not be forgotten."

U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

“This is very sad news, and the fact that it isn’t a surprise makes it no easier to hear. Elizabeth Edwards was an incredibly loving, giving, and devoted mother, and Teresa and our entire family are grateful for the time we shared getting to know her in 2004. We have many wonderful memories of those days traveling the country and seeing firsthand Elizabeth’s great affection for Cate, Jack, and Emma Claire. Today all those moments are rushing back.

“The same day our campaign ended at Faneuil Hall, we saw Elizabeth head off to Mass General to confront this terrible disease. America came to know her in a different and even more personal way, as she fought back with enormous grace and dignity. She became an inspiration to so many. Teresa and I, along with our family, send our prayers and deepest sympathies to Elizabeth’s family and the children she loved so much.”

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue

“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.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)

“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.”

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)

"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. My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this extremely difficult time."

Tim Kaine, Chairman, Democratic National Party

“Elizabeth Edwards' 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.”

Alliance of AIDS Services Executive Director John Paul Womble

“Having lost my father from HIV/AIDS at a young age, I can certainly sympathize, and to some extent empathize, with the grief that the Edwards’ family and friends feel. My heart goes out to them.” 

John D. Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress

"The Center for American Progress had the great privilege to call Elizabeth Edwards one of our own. It is with great sadness that we say good bye to her today.

Elizabeth was a doer. After the 2008 primaries she joined CAP to continue her fight as a champion for all Americans to have access to healthcare as she did. If you've had the good fortune to read her writing or see her speak or hear her infectious laugh, you would know that Elizabeth had a special knack for making complicated topics less so, for being clear on her views without fuss.

This is why so many here in Washington and around the country were drawn to her, and why she had such an impact in the debate over the most transformative public policy issue of her generation.

Elizabeth also set an example for us all—about never giving up. She was a woman with a keen sense of purpose and drive, who always had an opinion, yet strived to find the common ground even with the most difficult issues. That's an essential quality if you work in public life.

We will dearly miss our friend Elizabeth. But her legacy is the passion, resolve and optimism that she brought to her work and will give us the sense of renewed purpose to keep fighting for fairness."

Sarah Shaber, friend and local author

"I knew Elizabeth well years ago, when her son Wade and my daughter Katie were preschool buddies. She was smart, warm, funny, very busy, a great mom, and a lot of fun to spend time with. Elizabeth had a larger than life personality, and a big impact on those of us who knew her. None of us will ever forget her."


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