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Elizabeth Edwards, Estranged Wife of John Edwards, Dies at 61 (VIDEO)

(AP) Elizabeth Edwards has died after a battle with breast cancer. She used the spotlight of her husband’s unsuccessful white house bids to advocate passionately for health care reform.

Her candor often turned campaign events for husband John Edwards into private sessions that felt little like typical stump speeches. She was similarly open about the other tribulations in her life–her 16-year-old son’s death and her husband’s affair with a campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter. Elizabeth Edwards was a navy brat born in Jacksonville, Florida. Her experience attending school in Japan and living on military bases helped make her comfortable introducing herself to roomfuls of strangers. She and John Edwards met in law school at the University of North Carolina and married the weekend after they took the bar exam. It all fell apart. In January 2010, a week after John Edwards finally acknowledged he had fathered a child with campaign staffer. Friends revealed that he and Elizabeth had separated. With no campaign to focus on, Elizabeth Edwards returned to advocacy work. She also wrote about the death of her son Wade in 1996 and the grief that consumed her for two years afterward. Edwards later gave birth to two more children, Emma Claire and Jack. They joined daughter Cate, 20 years older than her new siblings. In an updated version of her first memoir, Edwards wrote, “I will die much sooner than I want to. I will leave a splendid man and an amazing daughter with yet another funeral to attend when they place me in the ground next to Wade and I will not be able to comfort them.”