Obama's Grandmother Loses Battle With Cancer
Madelyn Dunham passes away at 86 on eve of historic election
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2008 3:52 PM CST
Barack Obama in 1979 during his high school graduation in Hawaii with his maternal grandmother and grandfather, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham and Stanley Armour Dunham.   (AP Photo/Obama Presidential Campaign)
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(Newser) – On the eve of Election Day, Barack Obama's maternal grandmother died today in Honolulu after a long struggle with cancer. Madelyn Dunham, who helped raise Obama, had been in hospice care, the Chicago Tribune reports. The senator and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng released a statement calling their 86-year-old grandmother "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 statement continued. "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."