HONOLULU – Barack Obama’s grandmother, whose personality and bearing shaped much of the life of the Democratic presidential contender, has died, Obama announced Monday, one day before the election. Madelyn Payne Dunham was 86. Obama announced the news from the campaign trail in Charlotte, N.C. The joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said Dunham died peacefully late Sunday night after a battle with cancer.
They 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.”
Obama learned of her death Monday morning while he was campaigning in Jacksonville, Fla. He planned to go ahead with campaign appearances. The family said a private ceremony would be held later.
This is absolutely heartbreaking. She’ll never get to see him become President. My heart goes out to Barack Obama and his family. Tomorrow’s victory will be bittersweet for them all.