Former state attorney general of Delaware and son of Vice President Joseph Biden, Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III, passed away on Saturday, May 30, 2015 of brain cancer.
Vice President Biden announced the death in a statement issued late Saturday night on behalf of the whole family.
“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,” Biden said in the statement.
Biden, age 46, had been battling cancer for a few years, and was recently admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. His struggle had been kept largely private by his family, especially in his final few days.
Biden became nationally famous after he delivered an introduction speech for his father at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008. Nearly a month later, he left to serve in Iraq for a year, only returning to attend his father’s swearing-in ceremony as Vice President. In 2002, he had also been a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard. Biden also received the Bronze Star Medal for his services overseas.
Biden had served as the Attorney General of Delaware for two terms, and was planning on running for governor in 2016.
Biden had a mild stroke in 2010, and was formally diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, he was given a clean bill of health in November of 2013.
After a cancer relapse this spring, Biden began more aggressive treatment in Bethesda, but his health remained poor. He passed away with his parents, wife, and children all by his side on Saturday evening.
“My heart goes out to the Biden family,” said freshman Anjali Paliwal. “It is so hard to lose a family member, especially at such an early age. His children are so little, and now they have to grow up without a father.”
Beau Biden’s funeral was held at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday, June 6. President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy for Biden at a Mass at 10:30 a.m. that day.
Delaware citizens were able to see Biden and honor him at a number of public viewings throughout the weekend. A public viewing took place on Thursday at the Legislative Hall from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. There was also other viewings at St. Anthony of Padua Church from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and also from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday.
Hallie Biden, Beau Biden’s widow, asked that people donate money to the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children rather than spend money on buying flowers for the family. The foundation was created because of Biden’s repeated efforts to help children that are victims of sexual abuse and assault. The charity was announced on Tuesday, and has since then earned over 600 donations of $125,000 in just two days.
“Whenever someone passes, people get in touch with their generosity,” said freshman Emily Christensen. “We all start to sympathize with their families and want to honor their memories by doing something kind.”
How will you honor Biden’s memory?