Elizabeth Edwards passed away Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, at 10:15 a.m., at her home in North Carolina. She had been battling cancer for many years. She was 61 years old.
Mrs. Edwards is survived by her estranged husband, former senator John Edwards; children Jack, 10, Emma, 12, Cate, 28; and siblings, Jay and Nancy.
A week before she passed, Edwards was told by doctors that her cancer had spread to her liver and treatment was not advised. Tuesday, before Edwards passed away, PEOPLE magazine’s Sandra Westfall told Matt Lauer, “She has a home full of relatives, which is how she always wanted it. They are telling stories, looking at old photos, and having as many laughs as tears.”
Even before she was diagnosed with cancer, Edwards began writing a “dying letter” to her children with motherly advice so they would always have her words, even if she were not with them anymore.
In 1996, the Edwards suffered a terrible loss with the death of their 16-year-old son Wade. In the wake of the tragedy, Elizabeth founded The Wade Edwards Learning Lab. As part of a statement released after her death, the Edwards family requests that “In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wade Edwards Foundation which benefits the Wade Edwards Learning Lab.”
Elizabeth Edwards was the author of two books that became best sellers, “Resilience” and “Saving Graces.” They were about her long fight with cancer, as well as the adultery her husband committed that turned her world upside down.
She met John Edwards at law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The weekend after they took the bar exam, they were married. They had a meager start, and he reportedly gave her an $11 wedding ring.
They celebrated their first anniversary at Wendy’s. Even after John became one of the most successful trial lawers in the US, they still celebrated their anniversaries there.
In January 2010, Edwards separated from her husband after finding out he fathered a child with his mistress, Rielle Hunter. She told the TODAY show, “I think I did marry a marvelous man. I think he changed over time. And he’s no longer the person who I married.”
Despite the problems with the marriage, John was at the home at the time of Elizabeth’s death to help with the children.
A close family friend told reporters, “Elizabeth did not want people to say she lost her battle with cancer. The battle was about living a good life and that she won.”
TODAY staff and wire Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer at 61, Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer at 61 – TODAY People – TODAYshow.com
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