Elizabeth Edwards Won't Receive Anymore Cancer Treatment

Edwards was diagnosed with cancer first in 2004, then in 2007.

December 6, 2010, 4:51 PM

Dec. 6, 2010 — -- Elizabeth Edwards, recently released from the hospital where she was admitted over Thanksgiving, has stopped all cancer treatment, her family announced today.

Edwards, 61, who is estranged from her husband and one-time presidential hopeful John Edwards, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.

"Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive," said a statement released by Edwards' family. "She is resting at home with family and friends."

A close friend of the Edwards family told ABC News that John Edwards is among those who are at her side. The friend described the environment at the house as warm and peaceful. The mood was sad, but also full of warm feelings too.

The friend said Elizabeth is not in pain, and is at peace with what is hapening. The children, the friend said, are doing "OK."

In a message on her Facebook page, Edwards wrote a message that hinted at her pending death.

"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope," she wrote. "These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined."

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human," wrote Edwards.

"But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."

The family friend said that Elizabeth wanted to communicate via Facebook because she feels a connection with so many people who have read her book and heard her speak. She wants to "exit with hope," the friend said, and in a way that she chooses.

Edwards' cancer was in remission, but it returned in 2007 while her husband was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

John Edwards said at the time, "Her cancer is back. We are very optimistic about this." Shortly after, Edwards' stage-four cancer was deemed incurable.

The couple appeared to survive John Edwards' admission that he had an affair with campaign aide Rielle Hunter, and Elizabeth even defended her husband against reports that he fathered Hunter's baby.

But the couple split after the former North Carolina senator finally admitted that he was the father of the baby.

Edwards would not comment on her marriage after he admitted he had fathered the baby, telling The Associated Press, "My marriage shouldn't be on anybody's radar screen except mine."

Elizabeth Edwards Stops Her Cancer Treatment, Family Converges

Born Mary Elizabeth Anania, Elizabeth Edwards grew up in Virginia as the daughter of a Navy pilot.

She initially planned to teach literature, but ultimately pursued a law degree at the University of North Carolina, where she met John.

The couple had four children. Their oldest, Wade, was killed in an automobile accident in 1996 at the age of 16.

"When Wade died, it was a terrible burden," she said on Larry King Live. "But it also reminded you both of the fact that you needed to grab hold of each day. You couldn't just take each day for granted."

In recent years, Elizabeth authored two best-selling books and became a champion of causes involving poverty and cancer.

But always, she said, her children were her top priority: 28-year-old Cate, 12-year-old Emma Claire and 10-year-old Jack.

"It scares me the most that there's going to be a day that, you know, is likely to come before I wanted it to come where I have to tell these sweet children goodbye," she said in a Nightline interview.

In her book "Resilience," Edwards wrote that she hopes to live long enough to see her three children graduate from school and hopefully have a grandchild.

"Eight years," she wrote. "That's all I ask for... I want to walk them to the door of the next part of their lives."

Edwards previously told ABCNews.com that her children will go to John and then, if he died, to Cate, a plan that she said was written into her will.