Originally published December 7, 2010 at 2:06 p.m., updated December 7, 2010 at 3:49 p.m.
Elizabeth Edwards' family has confirmed her death today in North Carolina from cancer.
Edwards, who was 61, had battled breast cancer since 2004. She was the estranged wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.
A family statement says Edwards "remains the heart" of the family. She was described as inspiring and full of life. Gratitude was expressed to "thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way."
The family is asking that donations be made to the Wade Edwards Foundation, which benefits the Wade Edwards Learning Lab. He was the Edwards' teenaged son who died in a car accident in 1996.
President Barack Obama said he and his wife Michelle were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Elizabeth Edwards.
Obama issued a statement Tuesday calling her a "tenacious advocate" for health care reform and fighting poverty. He said the entire country has benefited from the voice she gave to such
Obama noted that he came to know and admire Elizabeth during the 2008 presidential campaign. Her estranged husband, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, was defeated by Obama in the Democratic nomination process.
The president said he had spoken to John Edwards and their daughter Cate in the afternoon.