Elizabeth Edwards with John Edwards and Barack Obama in 2008.

*The president and first lady are paying tribute to Elizabeth Edwards, who lost her six-year battle with cancer Tuesday morning.

“In her life, Elizabeth Edwards knew tragedy and pain,” President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama said in a statement. “Many others would have turned inward; many others in the face of such adversity would have given up. But through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration.”

“With the passing of Elizabeth Edwards, America has lost a symbol of strength, hope, and humanity, a tireless advocate for health care for all Americans, and determined crusader for cancer cures,” former President Bill Clinton said in a statement. “Her children have lost a loving mother, her friends a wise counselor. My prayers are with them. She was a remarkable woman who dealt with the challenges her life dealt her with courage and grace.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also expressed her condolences in a written statement.

“America has lost a passionate advocate for building a more humane and just society, for reforming our health-care system, and for finding a cure for cancer once and for all,” Hillary, 63, said. “But the Edwards family and her legion of friends have lost so much more — a loving mother, constant guardian, and wise counselor.

“Our thoughts are with the Edwards family at this time, and with all those people across the country who met Elizabeth over the years and found an instant friend — someone who shared their experiences and offered empathy, understanding and hope.”