Elizabeth Edwards, a forceful political wife who became a best-selling author writing about her battle with cancer but whose marriage to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards unraveled because of his infidelity, died Tuesday.
Edwards, 61, died at her home in North Carolina after a long battle with cancer, her family said.
Her breast cancer, which was diagnosed the day after the 2004 election, returned in 2007. John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator who had been the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004 and was running for the Democratic nomination in 2008, said the cancer was "no longer curable but completely treatable."
The family issued a statement Monday saying further treatment would be unproductive. She said in June that the cancer had spread to her skull, spine and legs.
"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," President Barack Obama said in a statement Tuesday.
Elizabeth Edwards was a successful attorney who became a national figure as her husband's political partner and the author of books that chronicled her cancer and grief over the 1996 death of the couple's 16-year-old son, Wade, in a single-car accident.
But her life became tabloid fodder during Edwards' bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The National Enquirer reported that he had had an affair with Rielle Hunter, who had been hired as a videographer for the campaign, and had fathered a child with her.
John Edwards at first denied any relationship and continued his quest for the nomination. He admitted the affair in 2008 after dropping out of the presidential race but did not admit being the child's father until January 2010. That month, Elizabeth Edwards announced she was separating from her husband.
"Just as I don't want cancer to take over my life, I don't want this indiscretion, however long in duration, to take over my life either," she wrote in her 2009 book "Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities."
"But I need to deal with both; I need to find peace with both."