Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, died on Tuesday at 61. She had been battling cancer since 2004.
Edwards passed away in her Chapel Hill, N.C., home with her family by her side—a day after she announced on Facebook that she was no longer undergoing treatment for cancer because her doctors advised that further attempts would be “unproductive.”
Edwards remains notable for her brave public struggle with the disease and her willingness to express opinions differing from her husband’s, even during politically pivotal times.
In 2007, Edwards was the first political spouse to ever attend the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club breakfast, the event that traditionally kicks off the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade every year.
At that event, Edwards said in a speech, “I don’t know why somebody else’s marriage has anything to do with me. I’m completely comfortable with gay marriage.”
Edwards’ politician husband, John, supported civil unions, but not full marriage equality, at the time. No frontrunner candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination would say they backed marriage for same-sex couples.