Senator Barack Obama’s grandmother who helped raised him has passed away from cancer it was revealed today (November 3).
Obama learned of Madelyn “Toot” Dunham’s death around 8:00 am, before one of two scheduled rallies in Jacksonville, Florida.
Dunham, 86, passed away around 4:00 am this morning in her Honolulu home, just one day before the American public votes in a historic election that may see Obama named as the first African-American president.
Obama’s campaign made the announcement, as the Senator prepared to campaign in North Carolina.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer,” Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said in a statement. “She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure. Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.”
Obama’s opponent Senator John McCain expressed sympathy for his rival’s tragic loss.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as they remember and celebrate the life of someone who had such a profound impact in their lives,” said John and Cindy McCain.
Dunham and her husband Stanley raised Obama, as he attended high school in Honolulu for several years, while Obama’s parents lived overseas.
Obama credited Dunham with having substantial influence on his personality during his acceptance speech in August.
Despite Dunham’s untimely death, Obama’s family said that she had lived long enough to witness her grandson achieve what she sought for him.
Obama’s mother died of ovarian cancer as well, in 1995 at the age of 53-years-old.