Elizabeth Edwards Dies at 61

 Paul Morigi/WireImage for Niche Media, LLC

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, died at her Chapel Hill home on Tuesday morning after battling cancer for the last six years, MSNBC confirms.

"Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence, but she remains the heart of this family," the Edwards family said in a statement.

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"We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life. On behalf of Elizabeth, we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way," the family added. "Your support and prayers touched our entire family."

First diagnosed in 2004, Elizabeth was surrounded by family and friends at the time of her passing, which included her estranged husband and three children: Cate, 28, Emma, 12, and Jack, 10. (In 1996, the couple lost their 16-year-old son, Wade, in car accident.)

On Monday, Elizabeth announced that she would no longer be seeking cancer treatment after physicians told the 61-year-old that she faced the possibility of having just weeks to live.

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"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope," Elizabeth wrote on her Facebook page. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human…It isn't possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know."

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Elizabeth separated from her husband in January after John acknowledged he fathered a child with Rielle Hunter, a former videographer from his unsuccessful run for President.

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