Reuters is reporting that Madeyln “Toot” Dunham, Barack Obama’s grandmother, has passed away.
UPDATE: From the Tribune
The day before the presidential election, Sen. Barack Obama’s grandmother, a woman he called “Toot” and someone who helped raised him, has died.
Obama’s campaign reported the death of Madelyn Dunham, 86, this afternoon as he and the media traveling with him landed here for the second of two campaign rallies he has scheduled today.
Aides said the Democratic nominee learned of her death about 8 a.m. Eastern time and that she passed at her home in Honolulu between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern time.
Obama’s grandmother, who had been gravely ill, was a rock of stability, giving him the American roots that would ground his teenage years as well as his career in politics.
He suspended his campaign for part of two days recently to return to Honolulu to be at her bedside. She was in hospice care in her apartment.
The candidate and his campaign had hoped that she would live long enough to see the outcome of the election, a race she had closely followed by television.
In a rare 2004 interview with the Tribune, Dunham, who called her grandson ‘Bear,’ noted her daughter’s global interests and said she and her husband offered Obama a greater sense of normality. “I suppose I provided stability in his life,” she said
The Illinois senator’s campaign issued a statement under his name and that of his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng:
“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.”