NPR logo Barack Obama's Grandmother Dies

News Headlines

Barack Obama's Grandmother Dies


Madelyn Dunham

Barack Obama with his grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, during his high school graduation in 1979.


Obama Presidential Campaign / AP

Sen. Barack Obama today said Madelyn Dunham — his grandmother who helped raise him — died after a battle with cancer. She was 86.

Late last month, Obama took time off the campaign trail to visit her in Hawaii.

Below is a statement from Obama and his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng:

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.

More: Madelyn Dunham, Obama's Grandmother, Dies

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.

About