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President Obama Reacts to Elizabeth Edwards' Death: "Deeply Saddened"

FILE - In this May 8, 2008 file photo, Elizabeth Edwards, then wife of former Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee hearing on the challenges and opportunities for fighting cancer on Capitol Hill in Washington. Edwards died Tuesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama responded to the news that Elizabeth Edwards had passed away, saying they were "deeply saddened."

In a statement, the president said that spoke to members of her family and offered condolences.  He called daughter Cate and husband John Edwards, whom she had separated with nearly a year ago.

Obama noted how he admired Edwards during the presidential campaign, particularly for her advocacy of working on the health care system and poverty.

"In her life, Elizabeth Edwards knew tragedy and pain. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends," the statement read.

Vice President Biden also offered his condolences, "Elizabeth Edwards fought a brave battle against a terrible, ravaging disease that takes too many lives every day. She was an inspiration to all who knew her, and to those who felt they knew her. Jill and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Edwards family as they grieve during this difficult and painful time," Biden said in a statement.

Edwards was 61 and had been battling breast cancer for several years. Many have praised her poise both in handling the death of her teenage son, and also the affair of her husband that led to the cover-up of a love child with his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

John Edwards ran for president in 2004, and eventually became the vice presidential nominee alongside presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

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