Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards was many things: an accomplished lawyer, a mother who had lost her oldest son, and a political wife. But it wasn't until she announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer that she became a public figure in her own right.

In her two memoirs she discussed the struggles of her life openly - from the loss of her son Wade when he was 16 to the side effects of her cancer treatments - and later to coping with her husband's infidelity. She died on December 7 at the age of 61 from the cancer that had been diagnosed 6 years earlier.