Madelyn Dunham, the grandmother of Senator Barack Obama, has died today from complications of cancer.  She passed away a day before voters go to the polls to determine whether Obama or John McCain will occupy the White House for the next four years:

A day before the presidential election, Barack Obama announced the death Monday of his grandmother, who helped raise him and who he praised as the cornerstone of his family. The Democratic presidential candidate announced the news in a joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng. He said his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, had died peacefully after a battle with cancer.

He said: “She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.”

The candidate learned of her death Monday morning while he was campaigning in Jacksonville, Fla. He planned to go ahead with campaign appearances.

It’s a good thing that Obama took a couple of days to see her last month.  Reports said that her health had seriously deteriorated, and Obama would not likely get another chance to see the woman who had been his primary guardian for a good portion of his childhood.  Unfortunately, those reports proved only too prescient.

Obama made the right decision at that time, and he’s making the right decision now.  With hours to go, both campaigns have to focus on getting out their message to voters in the battleground states and around the nation.  This country deserves a complete debate on the merits and demerits of each candidate, and there simply is no more time for delays.

Our prayers are with the Obama family and the candidate himself.  Mrs. Dunham sounds like a remarkable woman who led a good life.

Update: Those commenters “questioning the timing” need to get a life.  Those wishing ill on Senator Obama or his family (in the past or present day) will find their comments deleted.  Get classy and stay that way, please.