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Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, dies at 86

Video caption, Watch: Michelle Obama says her mother was ‘the most beloved figure’ in the White House

  • Author, Bernd Debusmann Jr.
  • Role, BBC News, Washington

Marian Robinson, the mother of former US First Lady Michelle Obama, has died at the age of 86.

In a statement, her family said Robinson died “peacefully” Friday morning.

Robinson was a well-known figure in the White House during the eight years of Barack Obama’s administration, between 2009 and 2017.

She spent much of that time caring for her two granddaughters, Malia and Sasha, the daughters of Michelle and Barack Obama.

In a statement posted to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Mrs. Obama called Robinson “a rock, always there for anything I needed.”

“She was the same constant support to our entire family, and we are heartbroken to announce that she passed away today,” she wrote.

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, Robinson was often seen with her two granddaughters, Malia and Sasha Obama.

In another tweet, Mr. Obama said that “there was and will be only one Marian Robinson.”

“In our sadness, we are lifted by the extraordinary gift of his life,” he added. “And we will spend the rest of our time trying to live up to his example.”

No further details were given on the cause of death.

Born in 1937, Robinson grew up one of seven children in Chicago, the city where she spent much of her life before agreeing to come to Washington DC after Mr Obama’s election victory.

Very early in life, she studied to become a teacher before working as a secretary. She raised Michelle and her other child, Craig, with her husband Frasier Robinson on Chicago’s South Side.

“At every step, as our families took paths none of us could have predicted, she remained our refuge from the storm,” Obama’s statement said.

“On election night in 2008, when the news broke that Barack would soon carry the weight of the world, she was there, holding his hand.”

An image taken on the night in 2008 that her son-in-law made history as the nation’s first African-American president showed Robinson sitting on a couch with him, watching the results come in.

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, Barack Obama declared that “there was and will be only one Marian Robinson.”

The statement added that Robinson agreed to move to the White House after a “healthy push” from Barack and Michelle Obama, who, along with their daughters, “needed her.”

It was said that she insisted on doing her own laundry there.

In a later interview with CBS, the BBC’s US partner, Robinson said she felt compelled to move to Washington because she felt “it was going to be a very hard life” for her daughter and son-in-law. .

“And I was worried about their safety,” she added. “I was worried about my grandchildren. That’s what pushed me to move to Washington.

The lifelong Chicago resident had never boarded a flight from the United States until she boarded Air Force One with the Obamas to France in 2009.

Robinson — whom Mr. Obama once called “the least pretentious person” he knew — said it was a “huge adjustment” to have his needs met by White House staff.

“Rather than hanging out with Oscar or Nobel Prize winners, she preferred to spend her time upstairs with a TV set, in the room outside her bedroom with large windows that overlooked the Washington Monument,” the family’s statement said.

“The only guest she insisted on asking to meet was the Pope,” the text adds.

His privacy gave him a freedom envied by the rest of his family. David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, told CNN on Friday that “she often left the White House alone and visited friends.”

“She really wasn’t looking for attention,” he added.

On Mother’s Day – just weeks before Robinson’s death – Mrs. Obama announced that an exhibit at the Obama Presidential Center Museum in Chicago would be named in her honor.

“In many ways, she gave me a deep sense of confidence in who I was and who I could be, teaching me to think for myself,” Mrs. Obama said in a video announcement.

“I simply wouldn’t be who I am today without my mother.”

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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