Joseph “Beau” Biden III, son of Vice President Joe Biden, died Saturday at age 46 after battling brain cancer, according to the vice president’s office.
“Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known,” his father wrote in a statement.
In 2013, Beau Biden was treated at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after he became disoriented and weak while on vacation. He was diagnosed with brain cancer, and after undergoing surgery was given a clean bill of health.
The cancer returned this spring and Biden pursued aggressive treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the vice president’s office said. He died Saturday evening, surrounded by his extended family.
Beau Biden is the second of Joe Biden’s children to precede their father in death; the vice president’s 1-year-old daughter Naomi was killed in a Christmastime car accident in 1972. The crash also took the life of Joe Biden’s first wife, Neilia, who was Beau’s mother.
After serving as a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia for nine years, and briefly working in private practice, Beau Biden won his first election for attorney general in 2006 by 13,000 votes. When he was re-elected in 2010, Beau Biden increased his winning margin to 149,000 votes over his Republican competitor.
During his time in office, Biden took aggressive tactics to tamp down on child sex crimes perpetrators, netting 180 convictions. He also went after banks and mortgage lenders for their roles in perpetrating crooked loans.
A captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, Beau Biden was deployed to Iraq for a year in 2008, serving in an administrative post with the 261st Signal Brigade.
Beau Biden, like his father was dedicated to fight for LGBT Equality.
In April 2013, Beau Biden joined Delaware Governor Jack Markell in supporting marriage equality legislation, and the governor signed it into law in May.
A month later, he urged state lawmakers to pass legislation that would establish legal protections based on gender identity.
“I support providing protections from violence and discrimination based on gender identity and expression under Delaware law,” Biden said in a video released by Equality Delaware.
On Saturday, Vice President Biden said in his statement, “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. Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.”
President Barack Obama, writing in a statement, quoted Irish poet William Butler Yeats — a favorite of the vice president’s — in honoring Beau Biden’s life.
Yeats wrote, “I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.”
“Beau Biden believed the best of us all,” Obama said. “For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher.”
Back2stonewall’s sincerest condolences go out to the Biden family in this their hour of loss.