Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ colleagues in the Senate and elsewhere are extending their sympathies after his daughter-in-law passed away at the young age of 46.
The death came just two days after she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer, the Washington Examiner reports.
Dr. Rainè Riggs was married to Sanders’ son, Levi Sanders, with whom the couple had three children: Sunnee, Ryleigh, and Grayson.
The Washington Examiner reports Riggs “was an accomplished neuropsychologist who once served as the co-director of Behavioral Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and is credited with developing and launching the Palliative Care Department for Dartmouth Medical Center.”
Riggs complained of feeling ill weeks ago and was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer following a battery of tests just last week. She died two days after her formal diagnosis on Saturday, the day Bernie Sanders, 78, returned to Vermont following a heart attack he suffered on the campaign trail.
Levi Sanders, who met Riggs while working at an emergency food shelter in Vermont, launched an unsuccessful bid for Congress representing New Hampshire in 2018 but was defeated soundly in the Democratic primary. The younger Sanders never received the endorsement of his father which many felt could have significantly buoyed his chances of victory. “Levi has spent his life in public service to low-income and working families, and I am very proud of all that he has done,” Sen. Sanders said at the time. “In our family, however, we do not believe in dynastic politics. Levi is running his own campaign in his own way.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio was among several lawmakers to extend their condolences to the Sanders family.
“The 46-year-old daughter-in-law of Bernie Sanders tragically passed away just two days after her cancer diagnosis,” the senator tweeted. “Please pray that the Lord grant this family peace & strength to endure during this very difficult moment.”
The 46 year old daughter-in-law of @BernieSanders tragically passed away just two days after her cancer diagnosis.
Please pray that the Lord grant this family peace & strength to endure during this very difficult moment. https://t.co/VCvWwMlOv9
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 10, 2019
Fellow Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang similarly expressed his condolences in a tweet which read: “My condolences to the Sanders family for this tragic loss – no kids should survive their parents like this.”
My condolences to the Sanders family for this tragic loss – no kids should survive their parents like this. https://t.co/nJSBp3iSHw
— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) October 8, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also shared his sympathies.
“I’m thinking of Levi and @BernieSanders today. All of us are sending our deepest condolences to their family,” he tweeted.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) October 9, 2019
Democratic Congressman Donald Payne Jr. tweeted: “I want to send my condolences to Senator Bernie Sanders and his family after the sudden passing of his daughter-in-law, Raine Riggs.”
I want to send my condolences to Senator Bernie Sanders and his family after the sudden passing of his daughter-in-law, Raine Riggs.
— Rep. Donald Payne Jr (@RepDonaldPayne) October 9, 2019
The Boston Globe adds:
Riggs was described as “a truly selfless person” who worked with homeless veterans, 9/11 survivors, and pediatric hospice patients.
Riggs fell ill about three weeks ago, and doctors were “stumped” on her diagnosis, the notice said.
“We brought her home last Sunday to UPMC, where she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. She died two days later,” the notice said.
Riggs’s last words were to tell her children how much she loved them, and apologizing for getting so sick, according to the notice.