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Michelle Obama Mourns the Death of Her Mother Marian Robinson

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Michelle and Barack Obama are mourning the death of their family matriarch, Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson. She was 86 years old.

A lengthy family tribute posted on the former president’s official website pays tribute to Marian, who died “peacefully” on Friday morning, “and right now, none of us are quite sure how exactly we’ll move on without her.”

The tribute recalls Marian’s tough upbringing on the South Side of Chicago, and how she supported Michelle and her brother, Craig Robinson, through all their career and personal milestones.

“With a healthy nudge, she agreed to move to the White House with Michelle and Barack,” the statement adds. “We needed her. The girls needed her. And she ended up being our rock through it all.”

Marian Robinson (center) attends the 2015 National Christmas Tree Lighting with Malia, Sasha, Michelle and Barack Obama.Olivier Douliery- Pool/Getty Images

Marian was the only living grandparents to the Obamas’ daughters — her husband, Fraser, died in 1991, and both of Barack’s parents died before he even ran for Senate in 2004. She was frequently pictured accompanying the family aboard Air Force One or at certain public events, though the tribute shares the humble detail that, during her time at the White House, “The only guest she made a point of asking to meet was the Pope.”

“As a mother, she was our backstop, a calm and nonjudgmental witness to our triumphs and stumbles,” it continues. “She was always, always there, welcoming us back home no matter how far we had journeyed, with that deep and abiding love.”

First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother Marian Robinson attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention.ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages

“We will all miss her greatly, and we wish she were here to offer us some perspective, to mend our heavy hearts with a laugh and a dose of her wisdom,” the tribute concludes, in part. “Yet we are comforted by the understanding that she has returned to the embrace of her loving Fraser, that she’s pulled up her TV tray next to his recliner, that they’re clinking their highball glasses as she’s catching him up with the stories about this wild, beautiful ride. She’s missed him so.”

“There was and will be only one Marian Robinson. In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life. And we will spend the rest of ours trying to live up to her example.”

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