WASHINGTON - (AP) - Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife offormer Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, died Tuesdayafter a six-year fight with cancer, her family said. She was 61.

"Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but sheremains the heart of this family," the statement said. "We loveher and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life. Onbehalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to thethousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along theway. Your support and prayers touched our entire family."

A family friend said she died in North Carolina at 10:15 a.m.

The family asked that donations be made to the Wade EdwardsFoundation which benefits the Wade Edwards Learning Lab. He was theEdwards' teenaged son who died in a car accident.