Barack Obama says his grandmother, whose personality and bearing shaped much of the life of the
Democratic presidential contender, has died Madelyn Payne Dunham was 86, the Associated Press reported.
Obama announced the news one day before the election from the campaign trail in Charlotte, North Carolina. The joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said Dunham died peacefully late Sunday night after a battle with cancer.
They said: "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."
Obama learned of her death Monday morning while he was campaigning in Jacksonville, Florida. He planned to go ahead with campaign appearances.