Senator Obama's grandmother passes away - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Senator Obama's grandmother passes away

Madelyn Dunham Madelyn Dunham

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Senator Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has passed away early Monday morning at her home.

Senator Barack Obama and his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng released this statement on the death of their grandmother:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer.  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.  She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring.  Our debt to her is beyond measure. 

Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time.  It brought our grandmother and us great comfort.  Our grandmother was a private woman, and 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.

Maya Soetoro-Ng adds the following, "My grandmother made her home on these islands since 1959, and she loved the people of Hawaii.  We want to thank Tutu's friends and extended ohana for the outpouring of aloha over the past few weeks.  We received cards, letters, and gifts that helped lift her spirits, and we are very grateful for everybody's support."

Mayor Mufi Hannemann issued this statement on the passing of Madelyn Dunham:

"The people of the City and County of Honolulu join me in expressing our condolences to Senator Barack Obama, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and their ohana on the passing of their grandmother, Madelyn Dunham.

"I know Ms. Dunham was a tremendous influence on Senator Obama's life and not only shaped his growth but his character, integrity, and devotion to serving others.  Hers is an amazing legacy of love, sacrifice, and aloha, and I know she'll be missed deeply by all whose lives she touched over these many years.

"It's sad beyond words that she won't be here to celebrate her grandson's finest hour, or to see how the child she helped raise has galvanized a nation with his message of hope and change.

"Gail and I offer our prayers to the senator and the family."

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono also commented on her passing:

"I would like send my heart felt condolences to Senator Barack Obama, Maya Soetoro-Ng and their families following the passing of their grandmother, Madelyn Dunham.

Senator Obama has spoken many times about his grandmother's love, support, sacrifice and hard work which helped to shape his values and laid the foundation for the leader he is today.  My thoughts are with him and his family."

Obama had changed his campaign plans to visit her in Hawaii last week.  She was hospitalized after falling and breaking her hip, and was said to be gravely ill.

Obama's mother died of cancer in 1995. He wasn't able to see her in time to say goodbye.

Madelyn helped raise Obama in Honolulu and helped put the Punahou grad through private school.

She had just turned 86 last Sunday.

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