updated 12/07/2010 AT 6:50 PM ET
•originally published 12/07/2010 AT 5:05 PM ET
Elizabeth Edwards – a political wife whose personal dramas, including her husband’s infidelity and her six-year battle against breast cancer, were played out on a public stage – died from the disease Tuesday. She was 61.
“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence but she remains the heart of this family,” the Edwards family says in a statement. “We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life.”
She died at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C., surrounded by her family.
“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 statement adds. “Your support and prayers touched our entire family.”