Beau Biden, son of US vice president, dies of cancer

Family of Joe Biden says it is ‘saddened beyond words’ after oldest son succumbs to brain disease at 46

Joe Biden, right, is seen with his son Beau Biden in Denver, Colorado, on August 25, 2008. (AFP/Paul J. RICHARDS)
Joe Biden, right, is seen with his son Beau Biden in Denver, Colorado, on August 25, 2008. (AFP/Paul J. RICHARDS)

Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, the oldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, has died of cancer, a White House statement said late Saturday. He was 46.

The vice president, in the statement on behalf of the entire Biden family, announced “with broken hearts” that Beau had died after a battle with brain cancer.

“The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us — especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter,” the statement read.

It added that Beau “battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.”

President Barack Obama said he and the first lady were grieving alongside the Biden family.

“Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth,” Obama said.

“Beau took after Joe. He studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware’s attorney general,” the president said.

“Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched — and he lives on in their hearts.”

Beau Biden, an attorney, served as attorney general of the state of Delaware, and briefly considered running for the US Senate to take the seat vacated when his father became vice president.

He announced last year that he would not seek a third term as attorney general and instead planned to run for governor in 2016.

Beau Biden was hospitalized earlier this month at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. At the time the vice president’s office declined to say why he was being treated.

Beau Biden suffered a mild stroke in 2010 and underwent surgery at a Texas cancer center in 2013 to remove what was described as a small lesion.

In 2008, Joe Biden attempted to play up his Jewish bona fides with voters in Florida by noting Beau had married into a Jewish family, according to a report from ABC News.

“Look, my son married – and matter of fact, her, uh – my son married into the Berger family,” he said, referring to Biden’s marriage to the former Hallie Berger. “We’re going to be mishpokhe before this all is over, I promise you.”

Hallie Biden’s mother Joan is reportedly Jewish, though Hallie was raised in both the Jewish and Christian faiths.

JTA contributed to this report

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