Joe Biden has weathered a series of family tragedies beginning with the death of his first wife and their baby daughter, followed by the death of his son, Beau Biden.
Biden’s first wife, Neila Hunter Biden, died at age 30 in a car accident with their baby daughter, Naomi, in 1972. Naomi Biden was only 1. Hunter Biden and Beau Biden were also in the car and survived the crash. Beau Biden died from brain cancer at age 46.
Biden has a loving family, who is supporting him in his presidential campaign. Joe Biden was Vice President under President Barrack Obama from 2009 to 2017. He is running for the Democratic nomination to face off against President Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential election. Before he was Vice President, he represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. After Trump took office, Biden moved back to Delaware with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. He announced his candidacy for President April 25.
He also has a son, Hunter Biden, with his first wife, Neila Biden. He has a daughter, Ashley Biden, with his second wife, Jill Biden. He also has many grandchildren. Biden is 76 years old.
Joe Biden is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was born Nov. 20, 1942 to Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden and Joseph Robinette Biden, Sr. The family moved to Delaware when he was 10. He was the oldest of four children, according to his campaign website.
“During my adolescent and college years, men and women were changing the country—Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy—and I was swept up in their eloquence, their conviction, the sheer size of their improbable dreams,” he was quoted as saying on his website.
Here’s what you need to know:
Joe Biden’s First Wife And Daughter Died In 1972
Tragedy struck Joe Biden soon after his election to his first political office. His first wife, Neila Hunter Biden, and their daughter, Naomi “Amy” Biden, died during a family trip to pick up a Christmas tree, according to Politico. Their two sons, Beau Biden and Hunter Biden, were also in the car and were injured.
A truck carrying corn cobs broadsided the family’s white Chevrolet station wagon, shearing off the left rear wheel, sending the back door into the backseat, and launching the station wagon about 150 feet into an evergreen thicket. Naomi was 13 months old, and his wife was 30, Politico reported.
Biden learned of the crash December 18, 1972, just a few weeks after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He shared his story during a speech to loved ones of slain military service members in 2012, according to ABC.
“And just like you guys know by the tone of a phone call – you just knew, didn’t you?” he said. “You knew when they walked up the path. You knew when the call came. You knew. You just felt it in your bones something bad happened. And I knew. I don’t know how I knew. But the call said my wife was dead, my daughter was dead, and I wasn’t sure how my sons were going to make it.”
He had been interviewing prospective staff when he received the phone call, Politico reported.
His Sons Beau And Hunter Were Also Injured
In the crash that killed Joe Biden’s first wife and baby daughter, his two sons were also critically injured.
His wife, Neila Hunter Biden, and daughter, Naomi “Amy Biden, were pronounced dead upon their arrival to the hospital after a truck carrying corn cobs broadsided their station wagon in 1972. Neila was 30, and Naomi was 13 months old.
Two-year-old Robert Hunter “Hunt” Biden suffered head injuries doctors feared were permanent, Politico reported. Joseph “Beau” Biden III, suffered a slew of broken bones.
In his book, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, Biden wrote, “The first few days, I felt trapped in a constant twilight of vertigo, like in the dream where you’re suddenly falling … only I was constantly falling. I began to understand how despair led people to just cash it in; how suicide wasn’t just an option but a rational option. But I’d look at Beau and Hunter asleep and wonder what new terrors their own dreams held, and wonder who would explain to my sons my being gone, too. And I knew had no choice but to fight to stay alive.”
His Son, Beau Biden, Died From Brain Cancer
Joe Biden’s son, Joseph “Beau” Biden III, survived a crash that killed his mother and baby sister in 1972 and died from a rare form of brain cancer at age 46 at Walter Reed National Miltary Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on May 30, 2015.
He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. He was given a clean bill of health after surgery. The cancer returned in spring 2015, according to CNN.
Joe Biden wrote about the death and his grief in his book, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose. He said the family was gathered at the hospital that night. Hunter and another relative left to get food when Beau’s heart appeared to stop. The two rushed back and found the family gathered around Beau. Hunter bent down to kiss him and put his hand over his brother’s heart. Beau’s heart started beating again.
“It didn’t last long,” Joe Biden wrote. “May 30. 7:51 p.m. It happened, I recorded in my diary. My God, my boy. My beautiful boy.”
Beau Biden was a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq for a year in 2008, according to CNN. He also worked as a prosecutor for nine years in Philadelphia before he was elected as Attorney General in 2006.