Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama's Grandmother, Madelyn Dunham aka Toot, Dies 'Peacefully' in Hawaii

obama with grand motherNews sources such as Reuters reported just moments ago that Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, 86, lovingly called Toot, passed away in Hawaii, less than 48 hours before her grandson may become the first African-American President of the United States. (Correction made, Huffington Post reports that Dunham died Sunday night, and that site has video at this link of Obama's speech about his grandmother this evening in North Carolina.)
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's grandmother died of cancer, he said in a statement on Monday, a little more than a week after Obama interrupted the White House race to say goodbye to her in Hawaii.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer," Obama said in a joint statement with his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng. "She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility." (Reuters)
The Washington Post has also reported this news and CNN flashed it as breaking news. And (updated) Time Magazine's Joe Klein has written commentary on Dunham's death, To the Mountain Top:
It is almost banal at this point to say that this has been the most remarkable election I've ever seen. It's been a privilege to be a small part of it, to have had a ringside seat. And now, there is a sense that tomorrow will be the sort of day none of us ever forgets, one way or another--a day of reckoning, in the purest sense, when we will suddenly see ourselves and our country differently, for good or ill.

It will also be the first day that Barack Obama lives without the presence of the woman who was his surrogate mother. How sad for him, how remarkable that it would happen this way. (Joe Klein at Time)
Time also has an article on the passing that includes a quote from Obama that gives insight into his decision to leave the campaign trail and visit his grandmother last month.

As I said in an earlier post about Obama's coolness and warmth, his devotion to his grandmother, the woman who helped raise him, spoke of his good character. And Morra Aarons Mele wrote at Blogher her thoughts on what his visit to visit his ailing grandmother last month during the campaign says about him as a man and candidate.

During that period, The Huffington Post published a touching slide show of Obama with his grandmother and late grandfather, Stanley Dunham, whom the senator resembles. The slide show is at this link. That post introduced me to this ad (video) that included Toot.

Some of Obama's opponents said the trip to see Toot was a stunt. I refuse to link to those blog posts.

Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, also died of cancer in 1995 at age 52, a few weeks shy of her 53rd birthday.

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