Friend: Elizabeth Edwards has died

A family friend says Elizabeth Edwards has died of cancer.

The estranged wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards died in North Carolina Tuesday at 10:15 a.m., according to the friend who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the family had not announced her death.

The family had issued a statement Monday that said doctors have told Edwards, 61, that further treatment for her cancer would be unproductive. She spent her last days at home in North Carolina with family and friends gathered.

In January, Elizabeth Edwards separated from John after he admitted fathering a child with a campaign videographer.

Ever the public figure, Edwards thanked supporters on her Facebook page Monday.

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered," she wrote. "We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, in the final days of her husband's vice presidential campaign. The Democratic John Kerry-John Edwards ticket lost to incumbent President George W. Bush.

John Edwards launched a second bid for the White House in 2007, and the Edwardses decided to continue even after doctors told Elizabeth that her cancer had spread. He lost the nomination to Barack Obama.

During her husband's career, Elizabeth Edwards was more than a political spouse. She was chief adviser and strategist to his bids for the Senate and later for the presidency.

The couple met in law school. Daughter Cate has followed her parents into a career in law while son Wade was killed in a traffic accident when he was 16. Elizabeth Edwards had two more children later, giving birth to Emma Claire when she was 48 and Jack when she was 50.