Odds & Ends

Madelyn Dunham, Oct 26, 1922 - Nov 3, 2008

Barack Obama's grandmother Madelyn Dunham has died, one day before her grandson appears likely to be elected President of the United States.

The Democratic nominee recently took a break from campaigning to visit Mrs. Dunham, who he called Toot, after she broke her hip and it became clear her condition was dire. She turned 86 last month.

Obama and his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, have released this statement:

It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. 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. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.

— Evie Stone

UPDATE: John and Cindy McCain have issued the following statement:

We offer our deepest condolences to Barack Obama and his family as they grieve the loss of their beloved grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as they remember and celebrate the life of someone who had such a profound impact in their lives.