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Sen. Kerry Says Elizabeth Edwards Was Loving, Devoted

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Elizabeth Edwards arrives at Stand Up To Cancer held at Sony Pictures Studios on September 10, 2010 in Culver City, California. (credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Edwards arrives at Stand Up To Cancer held at Sony Pictures Studios on September 10, 2010 in Culver City, California. (credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday that although the news of Elizabeth Edwards’ passing was not a surprise, it is no easier to hear.

In a statement released shortly after the family confirmed that Edwards died in her home in North Carolina Tuesday, Sen. Kerry called Edwards an “incredibly loving, giving and devoted mother.”

edwardskerry Sen. Kerry Says Elizabeth Edwards Was Loving, Devoted

Sen. Kerry with John Edwards and their wives, Teresa and Elizabeth seen in this picture from 2004. (credit: LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, in the final days of her husband’s vice presidential campaign. The Democratic John Kerry-John Edwards ticket lost to incumbent President George W. Bush.

Sen. Kerry said that he, his wife Teresa and their 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.”

Edwards was surrounded by her three children, siblings, friends, and her estranged husband, when she died, the family said. She was 61.

“The same day our campaign ended at Faneuil Hall, we saw Elizabeth head off to Mass General to confront this terrible disease,” said Sen. Kerry. “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.”

“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence but, she remains the heart of this family,” the family said in a statement. “We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life. On behalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way. Your support and prayers touched our entire family.”

Elizabeth Edwards Gives Cancer Patients Strength

John Edwards launched a second bid for the White House in 2007, and the Edwardses decided to continue even after doctors told Elizabeth that her cancer had spread. He lost the nomination to Barack Obama.

The couple separated in January after he admitted fathering a child with a campaign videographer.

Elizabeth Edwards has focused in recent years on advocating health care reform, often wondering aloud about the plight of those who faced the same of kind of physical struggles she has, but without her personal wealth.

She has also shared with the public the most intimate struggles of her bouts with cancer, writing and speaking about the pain of losing her hair, the efforts to assure her children about their mother’s future and the questions that lingered about how many days she had left to live.

Elizabeth Edwards and her family had informed the public that she had weeks, if not days, left when they announced on Monday that doctors had told her that further treatment will do no good. Ever the public figure, Edwards thanked supporters on her Facebook page.

“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered,” she wrote. “We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”

The family asked that donations be made to the Wade Edwards Foundation which benefits the Wade Edwards Learning Lab. He was the Edwards’ teenage son who died in a car accident.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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