Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III, the son of Vice President Biden, a former state attorney general of Delaware and a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, died Saturday of brain cancer. He was 46.
Beau Biden, whose struggle with cancer was kept private, was considered the next political star of the Biden family and was thought likely to become Delaware’s governor. Until recently, it was believed he might run in 2016.
Biden had suffered what was described as a mild stroke in 2010. In 2013, a lesion was removed from his brain. After surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, he went into remission, but the cancer returned this spring and he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Biden is survived by his wife, Hallie, and two children, Hunter and Natalie.
The elder Biden’s life has been marked by the tragedy of early death. His first wife, Nelia, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident in 1972. Beau and his brother Hunter both survived, and Biden was extremely close to both sons.
Beau Biden served in Iraq, an increasingly rare instance of what once had been more common – the sons of the elite and the ruling class serving the country in war.
Here in its entirety is the statement issued Saturday evening by the vice president:
It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.
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.
Beau’s life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.
More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.
In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.
From a statement by President Obama:
Michelle and I are grieving tonight. Beau Biden was a friend of ours. His beloved family – Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter – are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get . . .
Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth.