Joe Biden’s family tragedies – from fatal car accident to son’s brain tumour

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Millions of Americans are celebrating the inauguration of Joe Biden today, but for the new President it's a bittersweet occasion.

While he has dreamed of this job since he was a young man, Biden's path to the White House has certainly not been easy.

The 78-year-old has suffered unbearable grief in his life, mourning the losses of his first wife and two of his beloved children.

Tragedy first struck in December 1972, just as Biden's political career was beginning.

Six weeks after he was elected US Senator for Delaware, he received a phone call that would change his life forever.

Joe's wife, Neilia, and their three children, Hunter, Beau and 13-month-old Naomi, had got into a car accident on their way to buy a Christmas tree. Neilia and Naomi were killed, while the two boys were critically injured.

Devastated, Biden rushed home to Delaware to be by his sons' side.

While his first instinct was to resign, quitting his political career before it even began, he was persuaded to take up his seat in the Senate.

He was sworn in at his sons' hospital bedside, and for the next 36 years he commuted from Delaware to Washington – making it home to be with his children every single night.

In his 2017 book 'Promise Me, Dad', Biden wrote that “the pain… seemed unbearable in the beginning, and it took me a long time to heal, but I did survive the punishing ordeal."

He continued: “I made it through, with a lot of support, and reconstructed my life and my family.”

Tragedy struck again in 2013, while Biden was Vice President.

His son Beau was admitted to hospital after experiencing "an episode of disorientation and weakness". Doctors ran tests and soon confirmed the news everyone was dreading. Beau had a brain tumour.

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By then 44-years-old and with children of his own, Beau underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and for some time his cancer remained stable.

But his tumour – a glioblastoma – was particularly aggressive, and his symptoms worsened.

Beau died in 2015, just 46-years-old.

Grief-stricken at the loss of another child, Biden decided not to run for President in 2016. He didn't pursue the Democratic nomination, and instead Hillary Clinton ran against Donald Trump.

Many thought Biden had given up his last chance to be President – the job he had worked for his whole political career.

But he had one final opportunity. In 2020 Biden won the Democratic nomination, and ran against the incumbent Donald Trump.

He won the election with more votes than any other candidate in US history, and will become the 46th President of the United States.

And Joe has certainly not forgotten those he has lost.

In his final speech before the inauguration, he openly wept as he paid tribute to his late son, Beau Biden.

Speaking from his home state of Delaware, Joe said: "Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret; he’s not here.

"We should be introducing him as president instead."

  • Joe Biden

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