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Elizabeth Edwards was an inspiration to many for her strength and plain-spokeness while battling cancer. She lost that battle Tuesday at the age of 61.

Edwards was the estranged wife of former Sen. John Edwards who became more popular than her husband while he campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008. She called herself the "anti-Barbie" and fought back against attacks when her husband's affair with Rielle Hunter came to light, Rob Christensen and Mandy Locke write at the Charlotte News and Observer.

A close friend of the Edwards family told ABC News that John Edwards was among those who were at her side during her final days. The friend described the environment at the house as warm and peaceful. The mood was sad, but also full of warm feelings too. The friend said Elizabeth is not in pain, and is at peace with what is hapening. The children, the friend said, are doing 'OK.'
was the pseudo-redneck who had been out of the South only once--on a trip to Washington. He had few intellectual interests. She was a devotee of Henry James and a politically active liberal Democrat. He was the soft-spoken, get-along guy. She was an outspoken, hot-tempered Italian-American who dominated every social situation. She was also regarded as more of a catch, drawing the attention of many of the boys. ... Although John Edwards had the high-powered legal career, their marriage was one of intellectual equals. She became his most trusted adviser in both law and politics. She was be a major influence on his life, just as Hillary Clinton was for Bill Clinton."
  • A Committed Health Care AdvocateThink Progress writes. "Through congressional testimonies, public speeches, blog posts, and countless television appearances, Elizabeth emphasized the human and moral dimension of the health care debate. She pressed lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to pass a law that not only offered insurance to those who went without it, but did so at affordable rates. ... Elizabeth was indispensable to the Democratic push for health care reform not only because of her persuasiveness and breadth of knowledge, but also because of her dedication to extending the health benefits she herself enjoyed to every American. In spite of her ailing condition, she inspires a sense of strength in all of us. She has viewed access to health care as an urgent issue that every American could agree on."
  • She Was Glad to Make a Difference, Edwards herself wrote in a statement on Facebook announcing that she was stopping cancer treatment.
You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces--my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. ... 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.

From the beginning of John's political career, EE diligently courted the press, which always liked her more than the candidate himselfless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Happy memory -- Elizabeth Edwards calling to congratulate my wife on the birth of our daughter back in 2007less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

In '04, Super Tuesday a.m.  I failed to introduce myself to Elizabeth at elevators of campaign hotel...She ribbed me mercilessly that nightless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

RIP Elizabeth Edwards. Glad she got to watch her kids grow up a little more six years after getting the worst possible news.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

I'd spent a little bit of time with Elizabeth Edwards in Iowa, she was unlike any other political spouse I'd ever met.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

One of my favorite pictures of my dad is him talking to Elizabeth Edwards in NH in early '08. May she be risen. than a minute ago via web

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