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Franklin Graham Urges Christians to Pray For Vice President Joe Biden and Family In Wake of Beau Biden's Death

( [email protected] ) Jun 01, 2015 11:57 AM EDT
Rev. Franklin Graham has urged Christians to pray for Vice President Joe Biden and his family following the untimely death of Joseph "Beau" Biden, who passed away after losing his fight with brain cancer.
Beau Biden with his father, Joseph R. Biden Jr., at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008. Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Rev. Franklin Graham has urged Christians to pray for Vice President Joe Biden and his family following the untimely death of Joseph "Beau" Biden, who passed away after losing his fight with brain cancer.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, wrote: "My sympathy goes out to our Vice President Joe Biden and his family in the loss of his son Beau. Beau served as the Attorney General of Delaware for a number of years and was an Iraq War Veteran. This should remind us all of the brevity of life and how fragile our life on this earth is. Let's pray for the Biden family, especially Beau's wife Hallie and their two children, as they go through this very difficult time."

Biden, the eldest son of the Vice President, died on Saturday while surrounded by his close friends and family. He was 46 at the time of his death.

"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," began a statement on the tragedy from the vice president on his son's website.

"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," it continued

"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," said the statement.

"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," the statement ended.

According to CNN, Beau Biden had suffered known health problems dating back to 2010, when he experienced a mild stroke that did not affect his motor skills or speech. Three years later, he was admitted to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas due to "an episode of disorientation and weakness." At the time, doctors in Texas reportedly removed a small lesion from his brain and gave him a clean bill of health. The cancer returned this spring, however, and Biden was reportedly pursuing aggressive treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland in the months prior to his death.

Beau Biden's death is latest in a series of tragic losses for the Vice President, the New York Times notes. In 1972, his first wife, Neilia, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a devastating car accident. Beau Biden and his brother, Hunter, were also injured in the crash, but both survived.

In an emotional statement on Sunday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry, a longtime friend of the Biden family, eulogized Mr. Biden as a "class act, period, ingrained with integrity, compassion, a sense of moral obligation to help others, and especially people who were hurting."

President Barack Obama also extended his condolences to the Biden family and referred to the Vice President "one of the strongest men" he had ever known.

"For all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder, nothing made him happier, nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family," Mr. Obama said. "Just like his dad."