This Saturday, 46 year old Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III died of cancer after a near 2 year struggle. He was married and the father of two children, and the son of long time U.S. senator and two-time vice president Joe Biden. He passed away at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, surrounded by extended family. It was an oddly appropriate end, as the young politician had spent much of his life going back and forth from hospital bed to hospital bedside.
In 1972 when Beau was only 3 years old, he was injured in a car crash that killed his mother and infant sister. This was only weeks after his father had been elected to Senate. Joe Biden spent so much time by his son’s bedside that he was sworn into office in that very room. Then in 1987 the roles were reversed, as Beau stood by his fathers hospital bed after he underwent surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm. Beau later had problems of his own in 2010 after suffering a mild stroke.
But none of this adversity slowed the young Biden down. He had very big but very realistic dreams, and he lived a good life. Beau was twice elected attorney general in Delaware, and always wanted to run for governor. In fact in an email to his supporters in April, he announced that he would not be seeking re-election as Delaware attorney general and instead planned to run for governor in 2016. The email painted a picture of a healthy Beau Biden, one who was looking towards the future. It dispelled many rumours that were floating around concerning his health, meanwhile the man himself was trying to keep a low public profile, declining to make comments and do interviews with news outlets. After he was initially diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013, he immediately went through surgery. Beau was given a clean bill of health and all seemed fine in the public eye, but this spring his cancer came back. He had been pursuing more aggressive treatment at Walter Reed secretly, but it was no use. He passed away right as his political career was picking up.
“He was serious” about running for governor, said Tom Gordon, New Castle County Executive, who described Beau Biden as the most popular politician in Delaware. “He thought he was going to win this battle.”
“I think he would have run. I think he would have won,” stated Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a fellow Democrat.
“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.” said his father, Vice President Biden in his statement on Saturday, “Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.”
Beau truly lived through a painful life, but he showed his strength in the face of these obstacles. He proved himself in the eyes of many people, be it family, friends, or his many supporters. Markell has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Delaware in honour of Beau.