WILMINGTON, DEL. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A funeral was held Saturday for the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden.
More than 1,000 attended the Mass for Beau Biden at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Delaware. The former Delaware attorney general died of brain cancer a week ago. He was 46.
President Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Biden in bidding farewell Saturday.
President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy.
“Through it all, he was the consummate public servant,” President Obama said. “A notebook in his back pocket at all times so he could write down the problems of everyone he met. And go back to the office to get ’em fixed.”
The president also spoke of his own closeness with the Biden family.
“We’re always here for you, we always will be. My word as a Biden.”
Hunter Biden, Beau’s brother also spoke.
“Beau’s was the hand that was reaching for yours before you even had to ask. That is my brother’s story.”
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White House officials said the choice of Obama to deliver a eulogy reflected the tight personal relationship that Joe Biden and the president have developed after more than six years together in the White House.
Leading political figures also were there, including the U.S. Senate majority and minority leaders, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her predecessor, Eric Holder, and other Cabinet officials.
Also paying their respects were mourners from across Delaware and beyond, who lined up hours in advance, drawn by their strong bonds to the Biden family.
“Joe Biden is Delaware, and his son is also Delaware to me,” said Lisa Rial, 54, who grew up in Delaware but lives in Pennsylvania. “They’re synonymous with Delaware.”
In addition to Obama, Biden’s two surviving children, Hunter and Ashley, were to speak, as was Gen. Ray Odierno, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, where Beau Biden once served.
Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin was to perform a solo. The White House said Martin had heard through a family friend that Beau Biden was a Coldplay fan and volunteered to attend.
Beau Biden suffered a stroke at age 41. He was diagnosed with brain cancer three years later. He returned to work after what doctors said was a successful operation to remove a small lesion, but his illness returned, and he died last Saturday, less than two weeks after being admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
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