Mary Elizabeth Anania Edwards (July 3, 1949 – December 7, 2010) was an American attorney, a best-selling author and a health care activist. She was married to John Edwards, the former U.S. Senator from North Carolina who was the 2004 United States Democratic vice-presidential nominee. Edwards lived a private life until her husband's rise as senator and ultimately unsuccessful vice presidential and presidential campaigns. She was his chief policy advisor during his presidential bid, and was instrumental in pushing him towards more liberal stances on subjects such as universal health care. She was also an advocate for gay marriage and was against the war in Iraq, both topics about which she and her husband disagreed. In the final years of her life, Edwards publicly dealt with her husband's admission of an extramarital affair and her breast cancer, writing two books and making numerous media appearances. She separated from John Edwards in early 2010. On December 6, 2010, her family announced that her cancer had spread and that her doctors had stated that further treatment would be unproductive. She died the next day.