WASHINGTON (CBS) ― Barack Obama says that his grandmother has died.
The Democratic presidential candidate announced the news in a joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng. He said his grandmother, Madelyn
Dunham, had died peacefully after a battle with cancer.
He said: "She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who
encouraged and allowed us to take chances."
The candidate learned of her death Monday morning while he was campaigning in Jacksonville, Fla. He planned to go ahead with campaign appearances.
Late last month, Obama took a break from campaigning and flew to Hawaii to be with the 86-year-old Dunham, who helped raise him.
Obama flew to Hawaii at the end of October to visit Madelyn Dunham, 85, who helped raise the presidential nominee.
Obama has said he missed a chance to visit his mother just before she died of ovarian cancer - she was 53 when she died in 1995 - and didn't want to
repeat that mistake. Dunham, whose birthday is Sunday, was staying at her Honolulu apartment.
Obama was born in Hawaii. His Kansas-born mother and Kenyan father met as college students there, but Dunham and her husband, Stanley, raised Obama
for extended periods when his mother lived overseas.
In his memoir "Dreams from My Father," Obama described his grandfather as something of a dreamer. It was his grandmother who was practical enough to
support the family by working her way up in the ranks at a local bank.
Obama has often mentioned "Toot" - his version of the Hawaiian word "tutu," or grandparent - as an example of a strong woman succeeding through
intelligence and determination. Many of his speeches describe her working on a bomber assembly line during World War II.
"She's really been one of the cornerstones of my life. She's a remarkable woman," he said.
[edit on 3-11-2008 by -zeropoint-]